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Harare City Council Starts Removing Street Vendors

The future looks bleak for these vendors at Egodini as the Bulawayo City Council has not yet found a suitable place to relocate them a few days before they vacate the Basch Street Bus Terminus. (File Photo)

The city can only accommodate 6,000 vendors and the rest of the more than 20,000 currently operating in the city centre.

The Harare council says the central business district can only accommodate 6,000 vendors and the rest of the more than 20,000 currently operating in the area will be moved to sites in residential and industrial areas.

Speaking during the sidelines of the launch of the city’s sustainable clean- up campaign by local government minister, Ignatius Chombo, Harare town clerk, Tendai Mahachi, said the 10 designated sites in the city centre cannot accommodate all the vendors in the city.

He said security teams will be deployed and from Thursday as they would be moving vendors from pavements and city moves to restore its sunshine status.

Minister Chombo urged vendors and all those involved in illegal activities in the city to register with the Harare city council so that they can be allocated designated places to operate from.

Chombo who authorized local authorities to remove all illegal vendors from the town and cities across the country said government is aware that time are difficult citizens must follow government and council directives.

Onesimo Gore of the Harare Informal Traders Association said the move by council will create order in the city but urged said local authorities must provide sheltered vending sites.

But National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe chairman, Stern Zvorwadza said they would resist the move saying council must first provide vending sites before removing people from the street.

He said government must legalise vendors instead of criminalizing them.

Several vendors, like Sam Gumbo who sells cellphones at the corner of Jason Moyo and Angwa said they are ready to move to designated sites as long as they have adequate facilities.

Most of the 10 designated sites not have ablution facilities and shelter. Mahachi said they would soon provide facilities to the 10 sites and others that would be established in in other areas.

With unemployment at over 80 percent most people have resorted to informal trading or vending for a living.

Government has announced plans to tax vendors once they get registered and move into organised operations.

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Meanwhile, Charles Moyo, Bulawayo City Council’s ward nine councillor and chairman of the Town, Lands, and Planning Committee says the local authority is meeting with vendors in the city on Friday this week to finalize discussions, which it has already started with them, on how to solve the problem of illegal vending.

Moyo tells VOA’s Sithandekile Mhlanga more than half of the city's population is into vending as a result of companies closing down in the city.