Pamela Shumba Senior Reporter
THE Bulawayo City Council yesterday launched a blitz against informal traders operating at undesignated areas. The operation, that is meant to bring sanity back to the city, sparked clashes between municipal police officers and vendors whose wares were confiscated.
The Chronicle newscrew witnessed council vehicles moving around the city confiscating wares from informal traders.
The government recently directed local authorities countrywide to restore order in cities and towns.
BCC senior public relations officer Nesisa Mpofu yesterday said the city’s operation was in compliance with a directive issued by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Saviour Kasukuwere.
“This is an operation that is meant to bring sanity in the city in line with the minister’s directive. We have held three stakeholders meetings and spoke to the leadership of traders’ associations on the importance of keeping the city clean,” said Mpofu.
“All informal traders are encouraged to regularise their businesses through acquiring licences and selling authorised goods at designated vending sites. As at June 26, 2015, the council had 6,240 vacant bays around the city, which should be utilised by vendors.”
She said the exercise was also targeting people who throw litter around the city or in the residential areas.
“We are enforcing all the by-laws that are meant to keep the city clean. A fine of $5 will be charged to those found throwing litter on the streets as we try to combat public littering.
“Those who refuse to adhere to the by-laws will be dealt with accordingly. There has to be order in the city and our enforcers will be on the ground until the by-laws are adhered to by all informal traders and residents,” said Mpofu.
She encouraged consumers to assist council to bring sanity to the city by respecting the city’s by-laws through buying from designated vending points.
“Let’s respect the laws and be orderly to keep our city clean. For the city to be clean, the city council needs assistance and cooperation from all residents. Some corporates in the central business district are complaining that vendors are blocking their doorsteps and parking areas, inconveniencing them and their clients,” said Mpofu.
Vendors who spoke to The Chronicle yesterday said they made more money through selling their wares at undesignated areas than at designated ones.
They also demanded transparency in the allocation of vending bays.
“We’re in business and we need to make money to fend for our families. It’s pointless for us to sell our wares where there are few people,” said Nokuthaba Khumalo, who was selling second-hand clothes along Fife Street.
Last month, council ordered vendors to immediately vacate illegal trading points or face arrest and prosecution for violating the city’s by-laws.