BULAWAYO City Council is set to launch another blitz on illegal street vendors from tomorrow, warning it would not hesitate to prosecute those arrested.
by NQ0BILE BHEBHE
The local authority also warned legal vendors who have abandoned their designated vending bays that they risked losing them if they remained unoccupied.
Bulawayo streets, like others across the country, are crowded with vendors who have vowed to stay put at undesignated sites despite several threats by local authorities to remove them and decongest pavements.
Vendors are violating city by-laws by selling goods such as stationery, meat, clothes, footwear, cellphone gadgets and accessories next to registered businesses.
Mid this year, the issue of illegal vendors gripped the nation with government imposing several deadlines for all vendors in the country’s central business districts to move back to sites previously identified and new ones to be designated by various local authorities.
Yesterday, council acting town clerk Sikhangele Zhou warned illegal vendors of the impending crack-down.
“Further to our initial notice to you on August 7, 2015, the public is hereby advised that there will be a blitz on all illegal vending activities as from December 1, 2015.
“As such, illegal vendors are strongly warned to desist from trading in undesignated areas as council will prosecute all offenders” she said.
“Registered informal traders who have abandoned their bays or are not paying the required council fees are advised to return to their bays and regularise their operations by December 1, 2015, failure to which council will have no option but to re-allocate the bays to other deserving members of the community.
“Those who have been successfully issued trading licences will be allocated bays at designated areas.
“Vending bays are allocated subject to availability at areas of preference by applicants”.
Bulawayo has more than 6 000 unoccupied vending bays, which were deserted after traders noted low customer volumes since the bays were located in secluded areas.
However, vendors accused council authorities of being corrupt, as some of them were said to be leasing bays at a higher price.
But councillors recently noted that the issue of vendors had been politicised, with an unnamed political party threatening to rally behind vendors and assist them in resisting forced relocation.