Mutare City Council says it has potential investors who are interested in funding the construction of market stalls for vendors at designated places following the launch of Operation Restore Sanity.
The operation, which aims to remove illegal traders in the streets, has seen most vendors move into designated vending areas. However, there have been calls for the city fathers to construct proper shelters to house the vendors as some of the designated areas have no sheds. Mutare City Council town clerk Mr Joshua Maligwa recently said council had partnered some banks who were ready for the project.
"We are coming up with an action plan for all these market stalls that will show when we will put up fences at some markets, build sheds at others and the electrification of the stalls. We have partners lined up who want to put up sheds at most of our markets. There have banks just waiting for the green light to start the projects," he said.
Private players in Mutare have taken the initiative to construct decent accommodation for vendors in the CBD. For instance, the market stalls at Manica Post were constructed by the Zimbabwe Newspapers Group (1980), as part of its corporate social responsibility to the Mutare community and their opening in September brought lots of relief to vendors that managed to get space there.
The market has running water, ablution facilities and electricity, and it accommodates 30 vendors with five of the stalls reserved for the disabled. Council has said it has other areas to accommodate all vendors who are registered and these are not yet full. These include the Meikles Park and the E Avenue Market, which is the biggest market in town.
The E Avenue Market had become deserted resulting in motorists using it as parking space. Mutare city public relations officer Mr Spren Mutiwi is on record saying council would do all it can to give vendors decent places to operate from. He said this will provide relief to vendors who were already working from designated places.
"We are not banning vending, but we want it to be done within the confines of the council by-laws. We are happy that they are coming around to regularise. Even those who were working from designated vending areas are happy because the illegal vendors on the streets were disadvantaging them," he said.
More than 40 vendors were recently arrested under Operation Restore Sanity, as council sought to clean-up the city centre.