The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Saviour Kasukuwere has called for the demolition of the multimillion dollar Harare Gulf Sunshine Bazaar.
The Harare Gulf Sunshine Bazaar is a complex that was developed by the City of Harare in partnership with an international developer EI Nour United Engineering Group along Simon Mazorodze Road.
The US$10 million joint venture project comprises of a business complex comprising 500 shops, industrial incubators to house small businesses, and market stalls.
The complex when operational was expected to provide employment to approximately 4000 people, but the indications are that the complex is failing to attract tenants.
The temperament minister says the complex has caused a dam, causing a major blockage of rain water not to flow out of the suburb of Mbare, affecting areas such as Runyararo and Hombasha which experienced flash floods recently.
The floods damaged residents’ household goods, and also caused an outbreak of typhoid in the suburb which left two dead and 17 others hospitalised. Kasukuwere took a swipe on the local authority for this project, which was not environmental friendly.
He added that the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) should not have sanctioned the building of the complex as it is now causing major health hazard to the residents.
Kasukuwere made the statement at a press conference held on typhoid held recently in the capital, which came after the launch of a ministerial taskforce to combat the water borne disease in the country.
The construction of the project started in September 2014 and it was scheduled for completion in ten months, but workers were last week putting final touches on the property. There was no indication as to when the complex would open.
Once operational, the complex was also expected to boost revenue base for the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, who would have capitalised on the informal traders housed there, who would have been formalised and incorporated into the taxable system.
According to the Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET), the informal sector contributes more than 40 per cent to the nation’s (GDP) whose non formalisation into the mainstream can cost the country in potential tax revenue.
The EI Nour Engineering Group is owned by some Lebanese business tycoons. There are also the owners of the Gulf Complex, a double storey shopping mall situated at the Market Square bus terminal whose construction was completed in 2014.
Meanwhile, the City of Harare has been blamed for clandestinely parcelling out green spaces and wetlands to developers. Property owners in areas like Monavale, Marlborough, Meadowlands, and Epworth have been enduring flash floods as their houses are constructed on wetlands.