BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Glen View Area 8 home industry complex, along Willowvale Road was on Monday gutted by fire for the umpteenth time. Property worth millions of dollars belonging to informal traders was destroyed.
This was the second incident in six months and the source of the fire remains a mystery.
Harare mayor, Hebert Gomba, who visited the area yesterday said council had put aside $500 000 to upgrade the complex and ensure the recurrent fire outbreaks becomes a thing of the past.
“It is time we sit down and deal with this situation once and for all. We must find a solution that takes us forward. As council, we are going to invest in this area to the tune of $500 000 from our beer levy and this money will be used to build this area,” Gomba said.
“If you want us to work together and want progress, let us stop what we are doing (starting fires), we can work together. What is happening here is bad, each year we face this situation, it is bad, and as council we are not happy.”
Last year, the complex was burnt at least three times and still the source of the fire could not be established with some suspecting internal fights within informal traders to be the cause.
The latest fire reportedly started at around 5pm and traders battled to put it out and salvage some of their wares.
The Harare Fire Brigade arrived later with two fire tenders, but so aggressive was the blaze that it consumed most of the complex.
Gomba warned informal traders against engaging in personal fights because this was affecting people’s lives.
Council had blamed the fire outbreaks on what they called “space barons” operating at the complex who deny council access to fix amenities like roads as well as inspect and install fire hydrants.
Government, according to Gomba, wanted to remove all informal traders at the site to a new place, but the mayor said the local authority was open to dialogue provided the traders stopped engaging in petty fights.