Friday, 12 February 2021

NRZ TRACKS TURNED INTO VENDING STALLS


At a time when the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ)’s railway lines in Mutare have gone for years without being fully utilised and cunning vendors have turned the tracks into vending stalls, the parastatal has revealed plans to refurbish its infrastructure.

Most of the parastatal’s properties in Mutare have suffered from years of neglect, with some of them now havens of illegal activities.

Last week, NRZ board members and management had a familiarisation tour of the Mutare station and all agreed on the need to revamp operations, taking advantage of Mutare’s proximity to the Sea Port of Beira.

NRZ board member, Mrs Respina Zinyanduko said the parastatal stands to reap huge returns from the refurbishment of infrastructure in Mutare.

“Through this tour, we have realised that NRZ has a lot of business potential. This border city is strategic and convenient to transport cargo to and from the Sea Port of Beira.

“We also looked into the issue of embarking on real estate business as NRZ has a lot of land that is either lying idle or being underutilised, so we want value out of it.

“During this tour we observed that most of our wagons need attention. This is a top priority and we will work around the clock to ensure that most of them are back on the rails,” said Mrs Zinyanduko.

Acting Mutare town clerk, Dr Antony Mutara, said the refurbishment as well as full utilisation of NRZ land will help in improving the city’s revenue flows.

“This is a welcome development to the city. As a city, we are working towards attaining Vision 2030 which seeks to transform Zimbabwe into an upper middle income economy,” said Dr Mutara.

This comes as vendors have turned the railway line between Chikanga, Zimta and Dreamhouse into vending stalls.

Second hand clothes vendors are now a common site along the railway line as they display their wares.

One of the vendors, Mr Lovemore Gore, said after realising that no trains were using the railway line, he opted to set up his second hand clothes’ vending stall there.

“A lot of people are in this line of business along the railway line. When operating from here, we do not display our goods in the mud.

“The closure of flea markets has left us stranded. We know it is illegal to operate from here but there are no trains using the railway line,” said Mr Gore. Ms Maria Gwara said the vendors are playing a cat and mouse game with law enforcement agents.

Another vendor, Mr Tawanda Chikara, said he comes from as far as Hobhouse to conduct his business along the railway in Chikanga. NRZ public relations manager, Mr Nyasha Maravanyika said the parastatal’s security personnel will descend on the vendors as their operations are illegal and might cause vandalism of the NRZ’s property.

“Our security has the authority to arrest these vendors. It is illegal to vend along railway lines. “This will also compromise their safety as they risk being ran over by trains,” said Mr Maravanyika.

Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Luxson Chananda said the police will continue carrying out raids along the railway line to bring all culprits to book.

“These vendors are violating both lockdown regulations and municipal by-laws. We will do everything possible to bring them to book,” said Inspector Chananda. Manica Post

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