Bulawayo councillors have suggested government must deploy the military to chase vendors from the city’s streets.
The vendors sell various wares on the streets, at intersections and on pavements.
At a recent full council meeting, councillors Sikhululekile Moyo and Felix Mhaka suggested that assistance from the police and the army was necessary, especially after 4 pm.
According to the minutes of the meeting, seen by NewZimbabwe.com, Moyo said:
Vendors have become a huge menace. Driving along 6th Avenue had now proved to be impossible.
Responding to the councillor’s concerns, Chamber Secretary Sikhangele Zhou admitted that illegal vending was now out of control in the city. Zhou told the councillors:
Several unfruitful engagements had been conducted accordingly. Efforts were being made with the respective stakeholders on how best to curb illegal vending. Law enforcement was required to restore order in the city.
Local government authorities, especially in urban areas, have for years been chasing vendors from the streets, but they constantly came back arguing that vending was their only source of livelihood.
In addition to littering and causing disorder in the streets, vendors, as all in the informal sector, are hard to tax. Taxes constitute a huge revenue source for local authorities.
Businesses in the formal sector, who actually pay taxes, are the main voice that has been calling for the removal of vendors from the streets.
Vendors flooded streets in recent years following the closure of many companies as the economy nosedived.