'New govt must get vendors off the streets'

HARARE - Government should get rid of illegal vendors selling fake and expired commodities on the streets, players in industry have said.

This comes amid reports of perished and fake products flooding the country.

Denford Mutashu, president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR), told the Daily News that government has not shown zeal to tackle vendors clogging the streets of major cities.

“It is clear that most of these goods are smuggled from outside the country, and we are not happy about their spread. A lot of products, edible and non-edible, are available on the streets, and they pose a serious danger to the consumers,” Mutashu said.

“The new government should deal with this issue of vending.

“Vendors must be relocated; there is no question about that. There has to be order in society, we can’t have vendors selling at undesignated points.

“There is also a problem of those operating within premises while they are not registered.

“They are just like ‘mushika-mushika’ and the parallel market.

There is societal disorder; this has to be fixed before making economic reforms.”

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) echoed similar sentiments, noting that if not dealt with, the present trend will only result in the upsurge of communicable diseases.

“We know they are looking for money, but the lives of fellow citizens are at stake here.

“It is our responsibility, let’s stop giving poison to others,” said CZI president Sifelani Jabangwe.

“Government has been relaxed to deal with this issue.

“A small problem will become bigger, it is better to get rid of these products on the streets.

“They will only cause diseases, and this will mean more government expenditure in dealing with disease outbreaks.”

Unsuspecting consumers are lured by the cheaper prices of the groceries on the streets, compared to the usual supermarket retailers.

Some vendors have indicated that they purchase their supplies from local wholesalers who offer huge discounts for nearly expired products.

Products such as instant porridge, dairy products, canned foods, beverages and biscuits that are being sold on the streets have passed their sell-by date.

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