HARARE street vendors have resisted attempts by the local authority to force them to pay hawkers’ fees ranging between $1 and $5 per day, saying the fees were too high, adding that council should have consulted them before implementation.
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
Since Monday, council’s municipal police officers have been conducting raids at undesignated vending sites and forcing the vendors to register before being allocated stalls at Fourth Street Market, Charge Office, Speke Avenue and Cameron Street, Park Street, as well as Rezende Street and Kenneth Kaunda Avenue.
National Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe (NVUZ) board chairperson Sten Zvorwadza confirmed the council raids.
“Vendors are being rounded up and being made to pay amounts ranging from $1 to $5 by the city council,” Zvorwadza said.
“About 100 members of our organisation were rounded up yesterday (Tuesday), but they are resisting the fees that they are being charged as they feel that they are too exorbitant.”
He said they would soon engage council to charge them about $5 per month.
“We encourage the government and local authorities to work with vendors’ unions to come up with strategies to assist with registration of vendors. There are more than one million active vendors in this country and there is no way government and local authorities can round up and register all of them without our assistance.
“There is need for them to consult us because we have a national database of vendors,” Zvorwadza said.
NVUZ director Samuel Wadzai said the organisation had come up with a draft Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihoods) Bill, which if taken on board by the legislature would help formalise their activities.
Harare City Council’s information department recently published a notice saying it had had designated nine vending sites in the central business district and would approve more for the growing informal market.
Part of the notice read: “Individual flea market operators will pay $2 daily for trading space while fruit and vegetable traders and other vendors selling goods like dried foods, airtime and newspapers will pay $1 daily.”