Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Government will not allow vending at undesignated areas and sites without toilets and other requisite infrastructure as this is contributing to the spread of diseases such as cholera, which have claimed many lives, Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni has said.
Speaking at a meeting with representatives of vendors’ organisations at her Kaguvi Offices in Harare yesterday, Minister Nyoni said her ministry will collaborate with other ministries to create conducive areas for trade.
Minister Nyoni’s statement comes as small groups of illegal vendors yesterday continued to engage in running battles with the police as they refused to leave the streets.
“Nobody will be allowed to vend anywhere anymore especially where there is no water and toilets because that is a health hazard. We are hoping that we will work together with the Ministries of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Health and Child Care and other ministries to make sure that you are allowed to do your business in healthy and more conducive areas,” she said.
“We are facing a crisis of cholera and a lot of you have been affected by this. I wanted to consult you so that we map a way forward so that we avoid the old mistakes. When we parted ways a few months ago you were beginning to rise as the informal sector.”
“Let me be very blunt. We are no longer going to have vending anywhere, everywhere. Let us be as organised as we had started to be. So those are the points of my agenda that I would like us to discuss.” She urged vendors to cooperate with Government to prevent and eliminate cholera and any related diseases.
Minister Nyoni said there were some vendors cooking everywhere and selling vegetables outside the designated areas, risking spreading diseases.
“If retail is your gift I would like you to grow from a vendor to a tuck shop, to a small shop and to a supermarket. If you are part of this ministry I would like you to vend with a bigger aim and we will classify you appropriately as vendors with an aim and vendors who just want to make money and go,” she said.
“We will create weekend vending sites like we are doing in Bulawayo for those who want to make quick money and send children to school.”
Zimbabwe Informal Traders chairperson Mr Arthur Muromba blamed Harare City Council for not attending to sewer bursts across the city.
“Council needs to attend to areas like Mbare Musika and inspect fruits, which are being brought to the market. They also need to upgrade the place because it is in a deplorable state. Whenever there is an outbreak vendors are the first to be blamed. We, however, encourage vendors to practice highest standards of hygiene,” he said.
Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation executive director Mr Samuel Wadzai said it was not time for blame game, but to find solutions.
“We are ready to play our part. It is more to do with water. It is our responsibility as leaders to tell our vendors to operate in clean areas. We are, however, against any intervention implemented without vendors. We believe the evictions are too early,” he said.
He said informal traders should be able to contribute to the economy.