Harare city authorities turn Coventry Rd kombi bay into vending site

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By Idah Mhetu

THE Harare City Council is set to convert its Coventry Road holding bay originally created for commuter omnibuses to a new vending site as authorities pull all the stops to rid the city centre of street vendors.

Harare City Council informal sector committee chair, Antony Shingadeya said this is a statement Friday while encouraging the vendors to move to the designated areas…”the newest sites being Coventry Bus Rank and at Corner Seke and Dieppe Road (Coke Corner),” he said.

Shingadeya said registration for space allocation has already begun with over 5 000 informal traders having registered so far.

At a media briefing Friday, Harare Mayor Herbert Gomba confirmed the development.

“The city of Harare, responding to stakeholder concerns over the movement of vendors from the CBD to designated sites, is encouraging peaceful engagement during this period,” he said.

Gomba added: “Vendors are hereby advised that only the city of Harare is the allocating authority and space has been created at Coventry road holding bay and Corner Seke and Dieppe Road (Coke Corner).”

Occupants are expected to pay $1.25 per day.

The past two weeks have witnessed combined regular police and municipal police operations to drive out vendors from the CBD met with strong resistance from the informal traders now used to plying their trade within the city centre.

In his statement, Councillor Shingadeya urged informal traders to move to the designated zones peacefully.

“Harare City Council encourages a peaceful movement of the informal traders from the CBD to designated sites as such a process fosters unity and helps engender a peaceful coexistence,” read the statement.

The Coventry road holding bay, built by the city at a cost of US$243 424, was officially opened in August 2014.

The bay has been lying idle since the time, putting to waste scarce resources that could have been committed to other critical projects in the capital.

The bay was created in the hope this was going to decongest the CBD and help sanitise the place which has become a hive of activity and too dangerous for pedestrians, some of whom were being run over by speeding commuter transport.

However, the intervening years have seen authorities fail to clean up the city centre as politics got in the way of things with the Zanu PF led central government keen on pushing the vendors out while the MDC dominated authority maintained informal traders should stay put until jobs were created to accommodate them.