Harare’s cat and mouse game
12 October 2017
…Vendors, pirate taxis dig deep
AUTHORITIES embarked on an operation to rid the Harare city centre of illegal vendors and pirate taxis on Thursday but it promises to be a game of cat and mouse for the foreseeable future.
The taxis were still on the roads having changed their modus operandi –only one or two taxis ‘loading’ passengers at the usual pick-up points at a time while others are on standby from a distance. On the other hand, vendors left their makeshift stalls in position and once they are convinced the cops are out of sight, they display a few goodies and resume illegal vending.
Other vendors indicated that they will be back in full force after business hours because the police team will no longer be patrolling.
Those selling cellphones were more cautious given the losses they are bound to incur if raided by the police.
On Wednesday, Harare Metropolitan Provincial Affairs Minister, Miriam Chikukwa, issued a joint statement with Harare City Council and the Environmental Management Agency ordering illegal vendors and pirate taxi operators to comply with council’s by-laws or be ready to be forced out of the CBD.
Chikukwa said she was concerned with the proliferation of illegal vending sites as well as illegal pick-up and drop off points by commuter omnibuses and illegal pirate taxis within the CBD.
“These acts have resulted in enormous problems which include loss of lives, traffic congestion as well as inconveniencing the public to conduct business within the CBD.
“I am therefore instructing everyone vending illegally and operating kombis and mushika-shika using undesignated routes within the CBD area to move to designated areas as stated in their letters from the Harare City Council,” she said.
The Minister ordered those without vending letters and route permits to immediately register with the Harare City Council.
City fathers have put in place proper vending sites and termini which have not been used.
City Health Director Dr Prosper Chonzi said everyone should appreciate a clean environment as council is fighting hard to avoid a situation reminiscent of the 2008 cholera outbreak.
“Those given stalls should move to places allocated. Those who are not registered should approach council and be registered. So far we have registered 3 800 vendors in the past two days,” said Dr. Chonzi.
Dr. Chonzi also warned vendors who store their wares in drainage lines to stop forthwith as council is disinterested in “unnecessary antagonism”.
EMA’s Harare province manager Benson Basera said illegal vending and mushika-shika taxis have become drivers of pollution.
“Pollution abatement should be taken seriously ahead of the rainy season. We want to follow planning structures done by local authorities,” he said.