By Staff Reporter
HUNDREDS of Harare vendors have been fleeced US$10 each by space barons on fake promises they would be allocated vending stalls ahead of the opening of the popular Mupedzanhamo flea market in Mbare this week.
Also set to reopen this week is the Glen View 8 Complex.
All informal trading markets have been closed for the past three months as the country underwent a lockdown to halt the spread of Covid-19.
Harare City Council spokesperson Michael Chideme confirmed vendors had been duped by the space barons who were demanding US$10 per person.
However, Chideme said the municipality had put in place new regulations including registering returning vendors in line with the Covid-19 regulations.
The new requirements also include the wearing of face masks, registering with the local council, maintenance of high levels of personal hygiene, and maintaining social distancing.
“Mupedzanhamo will open this week; we are yet to finalise consultations with the traders at the market. This is the same with the Glen View 8 Complex,” he said.
“We want to avoid problems where in the past, people were paying rent to space barons, prejudicing the council along the way. This time around we want to protect the interests of traders.”
Chideme urged vendors to register with the city council and not rely on space barons.
With over 90% of the working population unemployed, most Zimbabweans have turned to informal trading for daily survival.
However, the vendors have been left at the mercy of MDC and Zanu PF activists who fleece from them money to operate their vending stalls.