HARARE City Council yesterday demolished several illegal car sales dotted around the central business district and towed away cars they found at the sites.
Report by Moses Matenga
The latest crackdown has exposed a serious case of suspected corruption by senior council officials who are alleged to have demanded “protection fees” from the illegal car dealers.
Some of the affected dealers told NewsDay they had paid as much as $3 000 to an official only identified as Francisco who works in the city’s evaluation department.
“We paid money to a senior official in the Evaluation Department within the council. He came here to collect money.
“We can call him now and you talk to him to prove that he took our money,” said one of the businesspeople at a site along Josiah Tongogara Avenue.
Contacted for comment, Francisco assured the businesspeople that he would only assist them if the “storm is over” referring to the current wave of car sale demolitions.
“The issue is not in my hands at the moment. Wait until the exercise is over.As long as this exercise is there, I can’t do anything.
“Let’s wait for this to be over and we will get you something,” Francisco said in a recorded telephone interview when he was called by one of the affected car dealers.
The demolitions coincided with the removal of illegal electronic billboards erected at undesignated points which have been blamed for causing traffic accidents.
The latest crackdown follows recommendations by a probe team recently appointed by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo.
The team was led by Ellen Chivaviro.