HARARE – Harare City Council has launched a fresh crackdown targeting informal businesses being carried out on the city centre’s pavements.
The operation, code-named Regedzai, is targeting street vendors and foreign currency dealers.
Leslie Gwindi, the city’s spokesperson, says the blitz is a reaction to complaints raised by members of the public who feel street vending has become one of the capital’s biggest menace through obstruction of both human and vehicle traffic.
“We intend to have a sustained campaign against illegal street vending,” Gwindi told the Daily News.
“We urge all vendors to use designated vending sites, pay vending fees and adhere to the minimum regulations as espoused by the city vending by-laws.”
Fourth Street, Charge Office and Copacabana are some of the city’s designated vending sites.
Gwindi challenged shop and business owners in the CBD to take charge of their premises by barring vendors from hawking their merchandise outside their premises.
“The exercise is targeting fruit and vegetable vendors, airtime, CD, beverage and water vendors who stand in the middle of the road, road verges and on road islands,” Gwindi said.
“They also block pavements with their wares. Money changers are also targeted under the blitz
“Motorists have complained that the vendors block traffic and cause accidents while pedestrians insist the vendors have made it difficult to walk on the pavements.”
Several similar operations have been carried out in the past.
But due to limited job options in a struggling economy, the vendors have always found their way back.
The concerns are said to have been raised during the city’s budget consultations with ratepayers accusing the city fathers of failing to effectively deal with illegal activities.
“We call upon citizen participation for us to effectively respond to the concerns raised,” Gwindi said.
Council has plans to build new market places but the plans are being scuttled by a funding shortfall.