VENDORS in Harare have dismissed the 30-day ultimatum issued by the Harare City Council for them to register with the local authority as “bully-boy” tactics aimed at stampeding them into registering before the city fathers put their house in order.
National Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe deputy chairperson, Douglas Shumbayawonda, said the registration and subsequent charging of daily taxes on vendors had worsened their plight as this was done without consultation.
Shumbayawonda was speaking at a consultative meeting in Harare on Thursday between his union, Combined Harare Residents’ Association and hundreds of vendors, most of them disabled, deaf and dumb.
“There is too much corruption in the allocation of stalls by council officials and we are saying vendors must only pay to council and not individuals. Council is threatening vendors, but we will not be bullied. We are worried about the increase in arrests and confiscation of vendors’ wares,” he said to loud applause.
Shumbayawonda said council should first ensure that there is equitable distribution of stalls before it thinks of taxing vendors, adding that after proper planning, the vendors must pay monthly taxes as opposed to the $1-per-day they were currently being asked to pay.
“[Town clerk Tendai] Mahachi said vendors must pay $1 per day, but now some officials are demanding more. So we are saying everyday payment is not feasible. Every vendor must be given a certificate that enables them to pay monthly,” he said.
Shumbayawonda said the current arrangement was short-changing both the council and the vendors as money collected by some corrupt officials everyday was going into individual pockets.
Harare Metropolitan Police chief inspector Rachel Mawoyo, said there was nothing sinister about the registration exercise as it was being done to determine the number of vendors in the city for planning purposes.
“Since we opened the registration centres on August 20, only 700 vendors have registered and the rest are not coming forward.”
“This will present us with allocation problems as we will only look for places to cater for those that are registered,” she said.
Mahachi last month issued a 30-day ultimatum for vendors to regularise their operations in the city centre and provide their ID numbers, area of trade, residential address and contact details.
He said those who failed to comply with the order would face the wrath of the law, saying council wanted those in the informal sector to operate in an orderly manner.