IT IS worrisome that about two thirds of the Glen View Area 8 Home Industry Complex along Willowvale Road in Harare has gone up in flames for the third time this year, with informal traders losing property worth millions of dollars.
The development demonstrates management failures, particularly on the city authorities, as well as the traders themselves, who continue to get the short-end of the stick as their investments go up in smoke.
Given that there have been such fire outbreaks before the latest incident, surely the stakeholders should have come up with a plan to avoid another blaze or mitigate against one should it occur.
Revelations by the Harare Fire Brigade divisional officer Clever Mafoti that recommendations have been made before that there be fire points and fire extinguishers in the complex — which have still not been installed — means that some people are sleeping on duty and should be brought to account.
The value of the lost property in monetary terms is by far much more than what is required to install the fire points and extinguishers. What happened to risk management?
It was, in fact, double tragedy as the Harare Fire Brigade quickly ran out of water only to discover that their usual source at a nearby stream was contaminated with oil while the whole of Glen View suburb had no water — which the city is obligated to provide.
These developments demonstrate that the city authorities need to awaken to their responsibility. It cannot be business as usual when things like these are allowed to happen on a regular basis. The city authorities should take responsibility because the buck stops with them.
Now that this has happened, it is our prayer that the municipality will do the right thing and act appropriately in future. It would be a shame if informal traders in Harare should continue losing their investments in such a manner given the economic difficulties that the country is going through.
Harare mayor Herbert Gomba should work hard to protect these traders by ensuring the municipality puts fire hydrants all over the home industry complex and elsewhere in the capital.
We know that politicians always visit this place only to campaign yet it is times like these where they should be counted. These people need fair representation and it is time the MDC-dominated council fulfil its election promises.
It is a shame that city spokesperson, Michael Chideme, would shift the blame to the so-called “space barons” when the entire city is under their management. Who are the space barons?
And what have the city authorities done about them? So do we allow such incidents to continuously repeat themselves because of the so-called space barons? This is unacceptable! Space barons or no space barons, these trading places need efficient safeguards against fire outbreaks.
A lesson to the traders as well is that they should insure their property. This may sound harsh, but it is for their own good. They should take responsibility for their properties.