Harare unfurls CBD vendor blitz

HARARE - Harare City Council has begun its citywide blitz to remove all vendors and pushcarts from the central business district (CBD).

Acting town clerk Josephine Ncube said every vendor who wishes to trade within the city centre should be registered with the local authority.

Ncube’s statement comes after President Robert Mugabe said the vendor menace in Harare will become a thing of the past as government was moving to get rid of them.

“We adopted a framework for the renewal of the city through de-congestion. We currently have about 20 000 vendors in the CBD. Some of them had been registered to operate in the various suburbs and designated sites but they have abandoned their sites.

“The framework is to make sure that vendors are relocated to the sites they are supposed to be and to decongest in terms of kombis operating in the CBD. For vendors they will be registered and allocated sites- some within the CBD but others within the districts from where they will trade,” she said.

Ncube said vendors were blocking roads.

“It is a criminal offence to obstruct traffic and the traffic police will be dealing with that. We will be policing during the day and deep into the night.  We want to tackle the basics of dealing with effective policing and management of garbage.

“ As long as we have removed the vendors from the street, it means all those who are shelling their peas on the street will no longer be there,” she said.

Ncube added that because the vendors work deep into the night, the city’s mechanical sweepers have been redundant as they cannot be used while people are still trading.

She also said all pushcarts will be driven out of the city centre and all those doing wholesaling will be moved to Mbare and Lusaka markets.

Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation director Samuel Wadzai told the Daily News that council should first provide the vendors with adequate designated sites to trade.

He added that forcing the traders off the streets will not solve anything but instead will create chaos similar to what happened in 2015.

“Council should do an assessment in respect of the consequences on the livelihoods of more than 100 000 people and their dependents and the problems the evictions will cause.

“Vendors are not going anywhere any time soon. The president should also be reminded that people are not in the streets because they want to but because of his Machiavellian macro-economic policies that have brought us to this stage. There is nothing illegal about vending because he (Mugabe) created it,” Wadzai said.

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