VENDORS HEED GOVT ULTIMATUM
The Zimbabwe Local Government Association (Zilga) yesterday welcomed vendors and pirate taxi operators moving to designated places, saying their presence had made it impossible to properly manage cities.
Most vendors in cities and towns across the country responded positively to the ultimatum issued by Government, but only a handful of incorrigible traders resisted the directive.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Mr July Moyo on Friday said the renewed effort to enforce the city by-laws was not a one-day operation as a task force had been set up to monitor the exercise. Government said the task force will only be disbanded when order was restored.
Zilga president Dr Killer Zivhu said his organisation was in full support of Government’s plan to bring order and sanity across the country and urged illegal vendors to continue heeding the call for them to move off the streets. Zilga is made up of 90 urban and rural district councils.
“We as Zilga welcome the directive for the vendors to move out and we observed yesterday that most of the vendors heeded the call and they stayed away from the streets,” said Dr Zivhu.
“There was a breath of fresh air in most of our towns yesterday that is very much commendable. We are looking forward to the situation remaining like that for councils to have their space to ensure there were clean cities in Zimbabwe.” Dr Zivhu said urban councils were fully behind the Government initiative.
“We are behind our Minister on that issue. Disorderliness and unsanctioned vending will only bring us diseases like cholera. We, however, urge councils to seek partners who will erect vending booths and other infrastructure like toilets for the vendors,” he said.
“For instance, in Harare, vending is allowed in some parts over the weekends and such funds can be channelled to undertake such projects because some of the areas where council want to move vendors to do not have the relevant infrastructure.”Dr Zivhu said it was easier to have movable stores or containers so that people could conveniently sell their wares.
People, he said, should not politicise Government’s noble programme to help clean cities and towns.
Harare City Council corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said the city’s intention was not to ban vendors, but to ensure that they operated from designated sites.
“Harare City Council supports the activities of the informal sector, hence it designates spaces for them to trade from,” he said.
“We are there on the ground. We are doing our logistics. As you can see, the number of vendors on the streets is not as high as it usually is.
“There is a smaller number today; it is because some vendors who were coming onto the streets have gone back to their designated sites, where they usually trade from in the suburbs. Going forward, the message has been given that vendors should trade from designated sites.”
While many vendors, who often block pavements in the central business district, were conspicuous by their absence, there were pockets of resistance, albeit few, in some parts of the capital.
The bulk of vendors who resisted Government’s directive were those who trade in cellphone and related accessories. There were a few food vendors operating along Fourth Street and only a handful of pirate taxis were on the streets.