Kwekwe council propose to criminalise shop owners who leave vendors selling on their forecourts

KWEKWE City Council has proposed to pass by-laws that will make it criminal for shop owners to leave vendors selling wares on their forecourts.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

In the proposed amendment of the Public Health By-Laws, 1981 (S.1 502 of 1981) council proposes to levy a fine of $20 or a month imprisonment or both for shop owners who allow vendors to sell their wares in front of their shops.

Section 4 of the amendments gives the shop owners the responsibility of ensuring that there is no litter in front of their shops taking away the burden of ensuring cleanliness on shop fronts from the local authority, and placing it on business operators.

“Every owner of a shop, premises or building shall be responsible for, (a) the cleanliness of the forecourt and backcourt therefore (b) ensuring that no vendors occupy and set up shop on the forecourt or backcourt pavement therefore,” reads part of the proposed amendments issued by Kwekwe town clerk Emmanuel Musara.

In the proposed amendments, council intends to fine vehicle owners for any litter thrown out of moving vehicles. This will affect mostly public transport vehicles which will now only be licensed if they have a suitable bin on board.

“Where litter is discarded from a moving or stationary vehicle, as the case maybe, the owner or driver of the vehicle shall be held responsible and the fine imposed on section (5) shall apply,” reads the proposal.
A customer picks avocados from a vendor on a pavement along Herbert Chitepo Street, Bulawayo, on the June 26 ban on urban vendors set by Ignatius Chombo
Council has been battling to relocate vendors especially in the central business district despite dispatching municipal police armed with batons to forcefully remove the vendors.

The fines that are likely to be imposed on shop owners for failing to comply with the by-laws include a fine not exceeding level three of $20, or one month imprisonment or both.

The proposed amendments will be scrutinised from September 14 to October 14 before they can be implemented.

A clothing shop owner, Jairos Zivanhu said he will move to object the proposed amendments on the by-laws saying council had no power to force shop owners to deal with vendors.

“We don’t even want them on our forecourts because they are also competing with us and they don’t even pay shop licences or rentals. It should be council’s responsibility to ensure that the vendors are off our pavements,” Zivanhu said.

Another shop owner said council was just trying to shift the vendors’ problem to business owners.

“The vendors are a council responsibility and not ours. They are the licensing authority,” said the shop owner.

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