Govt plans flea market ware clustering to avoid fire spread

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By Staff Reporter

SMALL to Medium Enterprises Development Minister, Sithembiso Nyoni has pledged to engage the Local Government Ministry to help provide more space for SMEs in efforts ensure that goods being sold at flea markets and other spaces were clustered according to their types.

Nyoni said this was a way of trying to avoid the fast spread of accidental fires that have destroyed thousands worth of wares especially in Harare’s Glen View furniture complex.

“It is indeed our responsibility to make sure that the SMEs are clustered so that they are grouped geographically,” Nyoni said in parliament recently.

“We group them according to their commodity and according to the sector.

“However, there is not enough space for us to do that and I think there is an ongoing dialogue with the Ministry of Local Government who are responsible for issuing space before we do the clustering.”

Nyoni was responding to a question by Mbizo MP, Settlement Chikwinya who asked what the government was doing to separate highly flammable wares from those that were not.

“If you visit these locations, there have mixed goods. You will find glue, clothes, furniture, things which are easily combustible in the event of a fire outbreak.

“What policy position or what tools are you giving to these players so that at least they are aware to separate such wares in terms of minimising fire in the event of a fire emergency?” Chikwinya had asked earlier on.

In November this year, fire gutted about two thirds of the Glen View Area 8 Home Industry Complex along Willowvale Road in Harare, destroying property worth thousands of dollars belonging to informal traders.

This was the third time the complex has been gutted by fire this year.