Council engages ZRP on vendors
HARARE City Council has engaged the Zimbabwe Republic Police to assist in removing illegal food vendors who defy the council’s directive to stop selling food as a measure of mitigating the spread of typhoid in Harare, a council official said yesterday.
The engagement of the law enforcement agency comes as the city on Tuesday issued a 48-hour ultimatum for all vendors to cease operations as it reported that 132 suspected cases of typhoid had been recorded, while 280 people had presented themselves for screening.
Harare acting corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said once the modalities had been final- ised on how to remove illegal vendors, they will conduct a crackdown targeting them.
Mr Chideme said council had already moved in on illegal meat and fish vendors popularly known as “kotamai butcheries”, who are posing a health risk to families.
“We are finalising logistics on the deployment of enforcement.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police is coming in to assist us to implement the city by-laws.
“Once we finalise it, we will be moving in to remove all the illegal food ven- dors from the streets,” he said.
Asked on measures they will take if they face resistance, Mr Chideme said, “I don’t think there will be resistance as people understand why we are implementing this measure.
“It is a health measure meant to protect the majority.
“The thrust now has to change, people who buy from the streets have to stop buying as they are putting their health and those of their children at risk.
“Let’s stop promoting illegal activities and heed the call by health author- ities who have seen the reason why we should remove food vendors from the streets.”
Mr Chideme’s sentiments were, however, dismissed by some vendors’ leaders who trooped to The Herald saying council was solely responsible for the health hazards.
Harare Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises chairman Mr Taurai Marembo said council should engage them and find the best way forward or else they will face resistance from the vendors.
“Vendors are not responsible for council’s failure of collecting garbage or providing clean water for the residents.
“We are also not to blame for the poor drainage system.
“We should engage in dialogue on the best way possible to continue selling as we are earning a living out of that,” he said.
Queen of Grace Zim-Asset Trust spokesperson Mr McNorman Chitongo a fortnight ago said while they were concerned about the spread of typhoid, it was unfair to single out vendors as the main cause.