Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and informal traders across Harare are removing their structures in trading markets in fear of government's nationwide demolition exercise.
Government recently released a demolition schedule dubbed Development Control Work Plan (DCWP), to remove 'illegal' structures of informal sectors across the capital.
The earthmoving equipment being used by government in the exercise are known to completely decimate the structures to rubble and litter.
In Suburbs such as Warren Park 1, Mufakose, Kuwadzana Extension and Wesley informal traders have already removed their structures this week to avoid incurring a total loss on their property.
Warren Park 1 councillor Tichavaona Mhetu bemoaned that government's nationwide demolition exercise was inconsiderate to the plight of SMEs and informal traders.
"It is inconsiderate and heartless for government to seek enforcement at time were the nation is battling the COVID-19 pandemic and almost 90 percent is vulnerable due to the lockdown.
"This was not the right time for government to pursue such an demolition exercise of this magnitude. Our economy is self directing with informal outlook hence there should be sustainable ways to regularise informal trade.
"I became aware of demolitions through a government's DCWP making rounds on social media hence I alerted informal traders in Warren Park about government's demolition plan," he said.
In Epworth the police recently ransacked SMEs and informal traders structures without formal communication to the local authority and residents.
Dozens of SMEs and informal traders suffered heavy losses in the demolition exercise.
A Mufakose informal trader Primrose Chimuti said she saw it wiser to remove her Tuckshop cabin on her own before the exercise reached her suburb.
"Events that occurred in Epworth, Glenview, Budiriro and some other suburbs have made us realize it is better to remove structures on your own than for government to demolish them.
"At least when you remove them by yourself you will be able to reuse some of the material in the future than for government graders to destroy all the material," she said.
Peter Chimutsa an Informal trader in Warren Park 1 bemoaned that government was carrying out the demolition exercise without a clear roadmap how and where SMEs and informal traders will operate when businesses finally reopen.
"Government is currently embarking on a nationwide demolition exercise without engaging and assuring how and where SMEs and informal traders will operate when the Lockdown ends.
"This raises serious questions about government's commitment to support the plight of SMes and informal traders already being badly affected by the Lockdown.
Government has however, delayed demolitions in some suburbs as outlined in the DCWP.
Public opinion is that government targeted certain suburbs like Budiriro and Epworth to carry demolitions so as to agitate the SMEs community to remove 'illegal' structures on their own in fear of having their property destroyed.