HARARE City Council workers backed by armed police officers Saturday razed to the ground hundreds of stalls belonging to informal traders in Mbare.
The demolitions were most concentrated at the popular Mupedzanhamo Flea Market area where hundreds of informal traders operate from selling mostly second-hand clothes smuggled from Mozambique.
City spokesperson Michael Chideme confirmed the demolitions in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com.
“I can confirm that we have removed all illegal structures at Mupedzanhamo. Go and see for yourself for authenticity purposes,” he said.
The demolitions by the City of Harare, which have been happening since the beginning of the month, have left thousands of Harare traders with no source of income as they depend on vending for survival.
However, Saturday’s demolitions happened in defiance of a High Court order issued last barring the city authorities from continuing the destructions after the informal traders through their lawyers approached the courts seeking protection.
The High Court order also protects informal traders in Chitungwiza where the local council was destroying traders’ stalls.
MDC Alliance Treasurer David Coltart questioned why the authorities were carrying out the demolitions while failing to create jobs.
“Whilst many people including me, want the formal sector of our economy to grow, the destruction of vendors stalls in this manner is crude and cruel. These are some of the poorest people in #Zimbabwe. When jobs are created through national policies, most vendor stalls will disappear,” he said.
Vendors Initiative also condemned the destructions in defiance of the High Court order.
“VISET condemns in the strongest terms the continued destructions being undertaken by police at the instruction of Mr. Tafadzwa Muguti the PDC (provincial district coordinator) Harare Metropolitan Province in defiance of a High Court order. Today (Saturday) they are in Mbare, having begun the exercise at 3 am,” the association said in a statement.