Vendors encouraged to obtain operating licenses

Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works Marrian Chombo has encouraged vendors to acquire operating licenses in accordance with municipal by-laws to avoid having their wares confiscated. 

Chombo was responding to parliamentarians who had raised concerns over municipal officers and police officers who take vendors wares and do not grant them options to pay fines.

MP Paurina Mupariwa said vendors will be trying to make ends meet due to the harsh economic conditions and having their wares confiscated is a huge blow to them.

“Normally when goods get confiscated, it means vendors are operating illegally. If they have the papers and they have the licence, they would be operating from designated places. So, in this case, they are operating illegally I take it, and in such cases, they are fully aware and most of the time, they run away when the police get there,” Deputy Minister Chombo responded. 

“The police will then collect the staff and there is nobody to claim it. In most cases, we encourage that they get fined and collect their wares. However, we encourage all vendors to try and legalise their operations and operate from the approved areas.”

Chombo said in cases where goods are confiscated and no legal procedure is done to return them, the affected vendors can approach higher offices and lodge their complaints.

“We are fully aware that if, for instance, the goods are perishables and they are confiscated by the municipal police – because if it is the ZRP, they fall under Home Affairs but if it is the municipal police, definitely within at least about 24 hours, they will be rotten but in most cases, if they are fined, we encourage them to collect their wares if they are still salable,” she said. 

“So, if there is a problem somewhere within some local authorities whereby those confiscated goods are not returned, they are free to come to my office or make the local authority aware and we will look into that.” 

Chombo added that with the enactment of Statutory Instrument 148, they have noted a reduction in vendors operating from undesignated areas. 

“According to SI 148, we have set times and places where we are selling our market wares and we have set hours and legal places so the issue of chasing vendors is now less prevalent,” she said. 

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