Space barons cause havoc at vending stalls in Gweru

Vendors in Gweru have raised alarm over the resurfacing of space barons at council-run market stalls who are allegedly subdividing them and charging exorbitant prices in rentals on a daily and weekly basis.

Kudzanayi Bus Terminus has been identified as a hotspot for space barons who subdivide the stalls to third party tenants and charge them exorbitant rentals.

Speaking during a recent full council meeting, Councillor Cleopas Shiri said the emergence of space barons in council run vending stalls was negatively affecting revenue inflow.

“Reports say some vendors are being charged RTGS$50 dollars per day, while others are being charged in foreign currency, yet the local authority charges RTGS$7 per week per vending stall.

Responding to the issue, Gweru Mayor Josiah Makombe instructed the chamber secretary through the policing department to conduct a thorough assessment of the situation before a clearing operation can be launched.

“It must be established whether the people operating at the bays are the ones who are registered and paying council levies,” he said.

“Sub-letting must not be tolerated. You must also conduct a thorough check on parking bays for buses because council is already losing revenue through shady dealings at the main terminus.”

Clr Makombe warned all those who are sub-letting council space that they would soon descend on them.

“Council has allocated vending stalls at specific vending markets and hence we expect those allocated to do their business in a sustainable manner.”

The local authority allocated 500 new vending stalls outside the central business district (CBD) and in high density suburbs of Mkoba and Senga early this year.