The Harare Wetlands Trust (HWT) and the Harare Residents Trust (HRT) have acknowledged that there has been an increase in trading along main and local roads by residents involved in the informal sector.
The organisations have declared their full backing to the conservancy of the environment, respect for the rule of law and the upholding of key legal provisions on the protection of wetlands and road verges.
In a press release, the Harare Wetlands Trust said the proliferation of the informal traders’ markets along the roads and in most open spaces is largely attributed to worsening social-economic challenges being experienced in the country.
“Be that as it may, the citizens should remain obliged to operate within the law rather than what is, in effect the continued contribution to the ongoing deterioration of the maintenance and stewardship of the natural environment.
“Therefore, a socially sensitive monitoring mechanism to report and halt illegal (and perhaps legal) developments needs to be adopted by the local authorities and the government to minimise social conflicts and loss of wetlands and opportunities for water provisioning for all residents,” read the statement.
The majority of residents living in the urban areas are unemployed and therefore they have found the informal sector as a viable alternative.
In Harare, current statistics indicate that the informal sector contributes 58% of employment, with an estimated 50 000 informal traders requiring trading space.
Earlier this month there was a crackdown targeting informal traders who had built shacks and shelters on road verges in Harare Metropolitan province as more illegal structures were demolished.
Commenting on the demolitions, Harare Provincial Development Coordinator Tafadzwa Muguti said his office would not allow people in the province to continue disregarding the law.
“We can’t develop a provincial economy with lawlessness, we removed unregistered tuckshops and other businesses operating along road servitudes,” he said.
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