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Designated vending zones on the cards for Harare
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Designated vending zones on the cards for Harare



Philemon Jambaya

Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume has proposed a two-pronged attack to address the challenges posed by the unregulated sprawl of street vendors and unplanned settlements encroaching the city's borders.

Mayor Mafume's plan aims to bring order to the chaos by establishing designated vending zones within the city.  This will replace the current free-for-all approach where vendors set up shop wherever they see fit. Additionally, strict "no-vending" zones will be enforced in specific areas.

The motivation behind this initiative is multifaceted.  Firstly, the uncontrolled vending is seen as an eyesore by city authorities.  Secondly, it creates unfair competition for established businesses that pay rates and adhere to regulations.

The rampant vending activity has also led to a continuous struggle between vendors and city authorities in the Harare CBD.  Mayor Mafume's plan seeks to establish a more sustainable and organized vending environment.

A key aspect of the plan involves registering all vendors operating within the CBD.  This will integrate them into the city's economic framework, potentially leading to improved regulation, taxation, and waste management within the vending sector.

Mayor Mafume recognises the need for a broader approach to urban management.  He emphasises the importance of comprehensive urban planning to address the growing complexities of Harare.

One particular concern is the "rural-urban divide" and its impact on city infrastructure.  Rapid growth in surrounding rural areas like Zvimba, Goromonzi, and Manyame places a strain on Harare's resources.  Residents in these areas rely on Harare for essential services but contribute little financially as they fall under the jurisdiction of their respective rural district councils.

To address this imbalance, Mayor Mafume proposes extending Harare's city limits to encompass these burgeoning settlements. This would allow for proper planning and development of essential services like schools, clinics, and industrial areas, alleviating the current strain on Harare's infrastructure.

Mafume argues that these settlements, which can house upwards of 800 000 people, create a situation where residents lack job opportunities within their communities, forcing them to flood Harare in search of work.

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