Byo vendors livid over council raids

Source: Byo vendors livid over council raids | Newsday (News)

BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE

INFORMAL traders have blasted the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) for confiscating their goods and at the same time failing to provide legal vending bays.

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) director Michael Ndiweni urged the council to stop the raids without providing alternative vending spaces.

“The confiscation of people’s wares is something we have been frowning upon over time, and we have been unequivocal about that. It is further worsened by the failure to complete the Egodini Mall,” he said.

“Informal traders would be housed there by now and all these rights violations will be a thing of the past. The lasting solution is to allocate trading spaces at the same time ensuring a smooth licensing process.”

Street Wise Informal Traders Association director Percy Mcijo said the council should consider the option of fines instead of confiscating goods belonging to the vendors.

“These vendors are not engaging in criminal activities, but the council has criminalised vending. Licensing is not automatic, it’s a process and when one is hungry, they do not think about that,” he said.

“We have been talking to the council that they should at least make vendors pay fines rather than confiscating their wares. They should copy what is happening in other countries, where there is no confiscation of wares.”

Chamber secretary Sikhangale Zhou was not reachable for comment yesterday. The council security services fall under her department.

According to findings of a BVTA research, 59% of vendors and informal traders are not aware of the provisions of city by-laws, the informal sector in Bulawayo is still governed by 1976 by-laws that prohibit informal sector trade in the central business district.

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