Regularise tuck-shops operations: Mafume urges Harare residents

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MANY tuck-shops in Harare are accused of operating illegally, in addition to refusing to accept not only bond notes but also other lower-denominated Zimdollar legal tender, Zim Morning Post can report.

This publication understands that these tuck-shops, many of them scattered around high density suburbs, have significantly been apportioned blame for their part in the wanton increase of prices of goods and services in the capital.

“We, in high density suburbs, don’t understand why these tuck-shops were spared by local authorities when other irregular structures were being pulled down at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown period,” Patrick Zhira, a Glen View 1 resident, told Zim Morning Post.

Now, they are causing us problems.

Prices there are normally double those you see at shops in town,” he added.

Harare City Council (HCC) employees have been apportioned blame for sparring these illegal tuck-shops, with residents accusing them of collecting kickbacks from tuck-shop owners on a regular basis.

“We regularly see HCC workers move around here in Glen View, openly collecting money ranging from US$10 so that illegal structures are “protected” from being pulled down,” Zhira said.

Zim Morning Post understands that several attempts have been made in the past to pulldown irregular structures like tuck-shops in high density suburbs but without much success.

According to residents interviewed by this publication, the tuck-shops corruption issue does not only involve shopfloor level employees but those at the top as well.

Zim Morning Post spoke with MDC Alliance Harare councillor Jacob Mafume to hear his view on HCC officials said to be moving around soliciting for bribes in order that they preserve the irregular tuck-shops.

That should not happen. That is corruption and people should not pay that because it is shortlived and (outright) theft,” he said.

Mafume urged tuck-shop owners concerned to regularise their operations with the city council and make a contribution to HCC coffers.

We are not opposed to tuck-shops as a council. We need them to be registered and regularised.

In an informal economy (such as ours) people have a right to earn a living.

Those who have problems with them should pull them down. Some new settlements have no shops. There are no kombis to take people to the shops.

How will they survive?” he said.

On the issue of tuck-shops not accepting lower-denominated legal tender, Mafume was non-committal, only asking back: “How many coins (does one) need to buy a loaf of bread?”

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