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‘BCC should engage ZRP to handle the violent street vendors’

Local News
File pic: Street vendors

BULAWAYO Progressive Residents Association (BUPRA) has urged the council to enlist the services of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to remove violent street vendors illegally occupying Fifth Avenue.

Informal traders and municipal police have occasionally had running battles that have sometimes turned violent.

BUPRA chairperson Ambrose Sibindi said they had witnessed vendors attacking municipal police officers.

“We have in some instances seen municipal police being attacked by the vendors. This has made it difficult for the local authority to control vendors who have overpowered the local authority,” Sibindi told Southern Eye.

“The BCC (Bulawayo City Council) should at least engage ZRP to handle the violent street vendors. BCC has insufficient space to accommodate all vendors and another thing is that many people have moved from the formal sector to the informal sector due to the current economic crisis.”

In his end of year speech, mayor Solomon Mguni said vendors had become more brazen in their illegal occupation of Fifth Avenue.

He said the vendors “have become so daring to the extent that they have responded violently to lawful attempts to remove them”.

BCC has had several engagements with Zanu PF and Provincial Affairs minister Judith Ncube to remove the vendors that were allocated vending bays by suspected ruling party activists.

According to findings by Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association research, an estimated 59% of informal traders are not aware of the provisions of city by-laws.

The informal sector in Bulawayo is still governed by the 1976 by-laws that prohibit informal sector trade in the central business district and are no longer viable to the present informal trading conditions.

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