Coca-Cola market stall takes shape

The construction of vending stalls at the corner of Seke and Dieppe roads, commonly referred to as the Coke Corner, is taking shape with the erection of the structure framework almost complete.

Apart from ground levelling done almost a year ago, no progress had been made at the place until Government injected $15 million early this year.

The vending site located, will accommodate between 1 000 and 1 600 vendors.

The Herald visited the site and observed notable work in progress, with a crane lifting steel beam to finish off the structural frameworks.

Builders were busy working on the structure. Council said there were fears that the Covid-19 pandemic could delay progress.

Harare spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme said, “Completion depends with the developments on Covid -19.”

Interviewed, vendors operating at the site said the completion of the stall would be a game changer.

“We are crowded here and our makeshift vending spaces expose us to a health hazard,” said a vendor who only identified herself as Amai Tindo. “The completion of the much awaited vending stalls is a noble thing.”

The vendors are operating from makeshift stalls made of plastic and wood, which expose both the vendors and their customers to the vagaries of the weather.

A shoe vendor, Mr Kudakwashe Rumano, said the project should be finished before the onset of the next rainy season.

“Working from here was a nightmare during the past rainy season, it was a thorn in the flesh for us,” he said. “This time around we hope it will be a different thing.”

The vending site accommodates some of the vendors removed from unsanctioned vending sites last year.

At the moment, there is no adequate water supplies or ablution facilities, forcing traders to relieve themselves in nearby bushes.

The site now has multiple functions. Driving schools have invaded the place using it for conducting lessons.

Apostolic sect members have also turned part of the area into a ‘holy’ shrine. Harare town clerk engineer Hosiah Chisango recently said council contracted a steel manufacturer for structural frameworks, while it does the foundation.

He said once Coca Cola was done, for allocation of space, first preference would be given to vendors that were already at the site as they had an existing register.

Eng Chisango said after completion of the Coca Cola project, work would shift to other vending sites in the city.

“We will also be putting up similar structures all over town,” he said. “We have different sizes for different trades because we are seeing that our economy is tilting towards the informal sector, so on small to medium enterprises we will be focusing on infrastructure.

“This one will be coming with adequate ablution facilities for the traders that will be operating from there. We also have a plan for the central business district. There are areas we have targeted to put ablution facilities.”