Vendors challenge ban in High Court

HARARE - Vendors have filed an urgent chamber application in the High Court challenging the ban on vending in the city centre.

Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (Viset) lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara said they had cited the Harare City Council (HCC), Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and police chief Augustine Chihuri as respondents.

An inter-ministerial taskforce led by the Health ministry banned vending of all uncooked and cooked foods following a typhoid outbreak that has killed two people.

“Our clients are seeking an order to stop the arbitrary demolitions of vending stalls and confiscation of their wares as well as assault of vendors who will be resisting the clampdown on vending,” he said.

He added that the ban violates many provisions of the Constitution such as section 74, which states that no one can be evicted from their property without a court order.

Bhatasara said HCC has even involved the riot police who often carry out their duties in a callous and chaotic manner.

“These evictions are also in violation of section 53 which provides that no person shall be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The enforcement does not care whether it is an elderly woman selling her wares or a disabled person — they are just chasing and beating people,” Bhatasara said.

“The city fathers are to blame for the typhoid outbreak and not vendors. They are forcing vendors to go to designated sites which do not have water and toilet facilities yet they are claiming to be fighting the spread of typhoid.

“Instead of fixing the water, sanitation and sewer infrastructure, they are wasting resources on this exercise.”

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