HARARE City Council workmen have razed down illegal structures in Mbare Magaba area, leaving thousands of informal traders facing huge losses and a bleak future.
Residents have reacted with anger to the demolitions saying while sanity and orderliness were necessary, households have nothing to survive on except what they get from sales the streets.
The traders could be seen milling around and at a loss of words as they investments were laid to waster by construction hardware including bulldozers. Municipal police and officers from the ZRP also kept a close eye on the demolitions.
“Mbare Magaba area has been brought down sanity is a good idea but when it then affects livelihoods it becomes a very bad idea,” said prominent political commentator Setfree Mafukidze.
He added that while informal traders leave municipal authorities with little choice by not following council bylaws, destroying structures was not the best way forward.
“What solutions are in place for the affected informal traders.The restoration of order is key no doubt but if that process is handled in the wrong way it brings a lot of suffering to the people.
“Destruction is not a solution; solution is (to) build up market stalls and then bring down the bad structures, formalize before impoverishing citizens.”
Others, however, said the overcrowded and unhygienic conditions in some of the informal markets were a time bomb that neede decisive action by authorities.
“The agenda to return Harare to its sunshine status is commemdable. Pursuant to this, nonetheless, must be a swift rehabilitative program of reconstruction of modern day market stalls with above average facilities with all social amenities.”
Local authorities including Chitungwiza and Marondera have recently scaled up operations against illegal structures the residents use for business and dwellings. ■