BULAWAYO vendors have called on the local authority to review its archaic hawkers’ by-laws, most of which were crafted during the colonial era and are now irrelevant.
BY ALEXIS SIBANDA
The call was made by representatives of the Bulawayo Vendors and Traders’ Association (BVTA) and Ecumenical Services for Socio-Economic Transformation during an informal cross-border traders’ conference held in the city on Tuesday.
BVTA co-ordinator Michael Ndiweni said the city’s old by-laws were how impeding operations of the informal sector and impinging on vendors’ rights.
“We want to ensure that BCC (Bulawayo City Council) changes the by-laws that are hindering formalisation of the informal sector because it is through the informal sector that many jobless people have found alternative employment,” he said.
“Current by-laws stifle the freedom of trade and hence the organisations petition BCC to scrap such by-laws and give vendors their freedom as well,” he said.
Ndiweni said vendors and traders’ rights were facilitated by the government and thus the State should intervene and consider vending as the new reality that requires proper planning and designing of vending sites that are compatible with the current socio-economic situation.
“Every person has a constitutional right to choose and carry on any profession, trade, practice, or occupation that may be regulated through by- laws,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, human rights lawyer Nikiwe Ncube Tshabalala said there was need to craft specific by-laws to govern the operations of informal cross-border traders.
Informal traders operating from undesignated areas in the nation’s cities and towns have endured numerous violent crackdowns carried out by municipal police and Zimbabwe Republic Police officers.
This week, the military joined forces with the municipal police and members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police in a joint nationwide operation to remove informal traders from undesignated vending sites.