BY MOSES MATENGA
HARARE mayor Bernard Manyenyeni has conceded that the increase of vendors in the city had overwhelmed council and that Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo was working on a lasting solution to the matter.
Manyenyeni on Tuesday toured the city centre and interacted with vendors, concluding that they were not “wild” people.
Manyenyeni said council should sympathise with vendors as their coming into the city centre was not out of choice, but failure by central government to address their plight.
“I concluded that they are not wild as some would want to believe. I admit the city centre has been overwhelmed because they have taken their wares to the streets and in some instances leave a distance of 30 or so centimetres and making it difficult for traffic and movement of people,” he said.
“They close pavements, but let’s negotiate with them. Those are short-term arrangements until a vending place is realised. Vending booths should also be put on strategic areas.”
Manyenyeni added: “The city has been overwhelmed, the economy has pushed vendors to these levels, but the minister is working on an arrangement. My conclusion (after the tour) is that they have been forced into such circumstances. Its little business and those people are competing with each other.”
The Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe says there could be over 100 000 vendors in Harare.
“Twenty one months after staging the historic electoral theft, the regime has not managed to create a single job; at least within the formal
sector,” said MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu.
“Documented evidence clearly shows that at least 300 workers are losing their jobs every week in the formal sector. Companies are closing on a daily basis and the few businesses that are still in operation are downsizing and retrenching on a massive scale. As a result, thousands of young men and women have now flooded the informal sector as street vendors.”
Zanu PF MPs recently called for the removal of vendors from the streets of Harare.
“The majority of the vendors will promptly vacate the streets if they can secure alternative employment in the factories and in industry and commerce,” Gutu said.
MDC Renewal spokesperson Jacob Mafume said: “The vendors cannot go anywhere. They came into the streets because they have nowhere to go. They do not enjoy this hustling at all. All they want is work.
“What is frightening is that Zanu PF has no policy for them but to unleash them on to the unsuspecting streets anyhow and anywhere, even in front of businesses paying rentals and taxes. That chaos will not benefit the country.”