HARARE Residents’ Trust (HTR) chairperson Precious Shumba yesterday challenged the Harare City Council to reclaim its authority following reports that vendors allocated vending stalls at Machipisa Shopping Centre were being forced to pay over $90 a month to a group of suspected Zanu PF youths based in Highfield suburb.
Shumba told NewsDay that if the local authority reclaimed all open spaces in the capital city, it would be able to collect substantial amounts of revenue to sustain its projects.
“The City of Harare must take full control of all open spaces under their jurisdiction and impose reasonable fees in properly designated places,” he said.
“The city stands to gain more revenue from organised vending than have some vigilant groups controlling parts of Harare, making money out of council resources.”
He said vendors at Machipisa Shopping Centre were being fleeced of $40 each month in addition to $13 during weekends.
“This is despite that this open space is not for vending purposes, and that neither the City of Harare nor the group claiming to control the space has invested in putting toilets or sheds for use by the vendors,” Shumba said.
“One of the groups that collect money from the vendors is called Batsiraivamwe Community Support Group and has teams that move around the markets collecting the money towards month end and every week.”
Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni is on record saying the local authority would not be able to collect adequate revenue as long as there was political interference in the running of the city.
Shumba, however, alleged that there was a possibility that some MDC-T councillors and council officials were working in cahoots with the Zanu PF extortionists as they had remained silent over the matter.