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Bleak future for illegal businesses


Harare City Council has threatened to stamp out illegal businesses in the central business district (CBD) to curb the continued mushrooming of small businesses.

Hundreds of illegal businesses ranging from mobile phone shops, clothing retail outlets, among others have proliferated in the city. Most of them were unregistered.

City spokesperson Leslie Gwindi said in the next six months there would be a vigorous approach towards illegal businesses, especially flea markets that have sprouted all over.

Council has done everything. We have even taken some of them down, but they keep sprouting back. Tuckshops are also coming back. These illegal businesses are some things that are not desirable, said Gwindi.

He said council would allocate specific areas where prospective businesses would operate from, adding that a crack unit to stamp out the illegal business has been put in place.

However, observers argued that due to high levels of unemployment, the city fathers would likely face resistance from the small-scale business owners and proponents of indigenisation and empowerment.

Properly registered business operators have raised concern that they were losing revenue to unregistered operators.

A cellphone accessories firm sales consultant Marlon Gwede said the numerous ranks had brought problems to most shops owners.

Commuter ranks are the noisiest places in town and they bring so much confusion, said Gwede.
He said one could hardly make good business as some customers were scared to use some of the roads as a result of congestion.

Gwede said if only the city council could intervene then the CBD would be a better place to operate in.

We have Chicken Slice located at the centre of commuter omnibus ranks and one can hardly find parking space or even to have a decent meal as compared to other outlets where people can eat peacefully, he said.

Another shop assistant, Tawanda Vheremu, said there was so much congestion in the CBD as every little space available was being taken up and people could no longer move freely.

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