NORTON Town Council police have burnt down clothes and market malls at Katanga flea market, destroying property worth more than $100,000 belonging to local vendors.
The "authorised" arson attack happened Tuesday morning when the local authority deployed security personnel to "destroy illegal" marketing malls as part of its clean-up campaign.
"We were surprised to see hordes of armed municipal police storming the market without giving us any notice," said one vendor.
"I had new stock of unopened bags of clothes which had just arrived from Mozambique and all of the stuff was burnt.
"This this happened early in the morning (Tuesday) when we were about to start business," said another informal trader.
An elderly woman who also lost her merchandise said the council was collecting rentals from them for using Katanga flea market.
"I have all my receipts which show that I was paying monthly rentals and I am surprised that they have burnt down my goods," said the women.
Norton Member of Parliament, Temba Mliswa, visited the destroyed flea market and advised the victims to remain in post and continue with their economic activities.
"I can see that most of you have receipts of rental payments meaning that you were operating legally.
"As your representative, I am going to have an urgent meeting with the council to establish their reasons for destroying the market.
"But meanwhile continue with your businesses," he said.
Norton Town Council chairperson, Precious Mufahore, refused to comment and advised NewZimbabwe.com to "write down all your" questions and forward them to "me".