BY LORRAINE MUROMO
TRADERS yesterday described the Harare City Council’s order for them to vacate Mbudzi roundabout within 48 hours as illegal and unconstitutional.
On Tuesday, council ordered traders who conduct their business at the densely-populated area to vacate and pave way for the construction of an interchange to allow the smooth flow of traffic.
But trade unions that represent both formal and informal traders challenged the order, accusing council of being insensitive to the needs of the general public.
Vendors for Social and Economic Transformation executive director Samuel Wadzai told NewsDay that traders would exhaust all legal channels to challenge the order.
“This is totally unacceptable,” he said.
“As much as we appreciate the fact that the roundabout needs to be looked at in terms of improving the road network, we are totally against an ultimatum that puts pressure on members.
“A 48-hour notice is really unacceptable. Why do they want to destroy livelihoods like that? These things should be done in a manner that is organised.”
Wadzai added: “We don’t want our informal traders who are surviving from hand-to-mouth to be ambushed like that. We are considering challenging this in the courts of law as we are concerned that it’s illegal. This is uncalled for and we will not accept it, therefore, we are challenging it.”
Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy secretary-general Wisbon Malaya said: “The issue of traders operating from Mbudzi roundabout is becoming a source of violence and harassment in the world of work. I am referring to the International Labour Organisation Convention 190 which was endorsed in 2019, where our country Zimbabwe is also a signatory to the convention.
“The city fathers are always using confrontational engagement to the situation instead of having dialogue with key stakeholders so that we discuss mitigating measures and rescue measures for the people trading at the roundabout who have children to take care of and pay bills.”
He said the city fathers should not view vendors as “criminals” and illegal traders as there were no job opportunities in the country.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union secretary-general Japhet Moyo said he had not yet heard of the pending removal of vendors.
“However, we have seen authorities destroying livelihoods of traders before without any alternative space provided for them to work from. It seems we have become specialists in impoverishing our own citizens,” he said.
Moyo said the infrastructure to be put up by council should minimise disruption to businesses.
Follow Lorraine on Twitter @RMuromo