Police sweat over illegal vending

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BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
POLICE yesterday admitted that they were fighting a losing battle against illegal vending in the capital because poverty was forcing people into the streets to eke out a living.

Zimbabwe Republic Police (crime prevention Harare province) Chief Superintendent Passmore Nhetekwa said: “We have on-going operations against illegal vending. We have arrested people, but then it happens that economically, people are making a living out of the streets. They have made it a culture, but we continue to engage with the city council to bring sanity.”

Nhetekwa made the comments during a meeting held by the Harare provincial development co-ordinating committee in the capital.

Nhetekwa, however, said police would not tire in their efforts to bring sanity in Harare, and they would continue targeting illegal vendors who have taken over street pavements.

“For example, we have made arrests of people who were at Mupedzanhamo market who were using it as a parking bay. It’s designed for vendors, but it’s not being used for that purpose,” he added.

“The local authority should now move in to ensure that the place gets back to being a vending site so that those vendors who are on the streets are removed from the streets and get back to the market.

“We also implore Harare city to come up with other places that people can use so that we don’t continue to do cat and mouse game with vendors.”

Zimbabwe has seen an unprecedented influx of street vendors in all its urban centres owing to lack of jobs and rising poverty.

The country’s laws, however, do not permit street vending at undesignated places such as pavements and traffic intersections.

But Assistant commissioner Tawonei Nyazema said their role was to make sure that there was order in Harare.

“We are there to make sure that there is sanity and order in the province. The police play a certain role and the local authorities have a primary responsibility to ensure that respective laws are followed by the residents,” Nyazema said.

Council representative Raphel Karidza said: “The good thing is we are getting support from the police in terms of enforcement activities in the fight against illegal vending.”

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