The government on Friday gazetted new laws governing operations of vendors in Harare to boost council revenue, prevent disease outbreak and restore order in the capital where vendors have mushroomed as formal employment dwindles.
The capital has seen an explosion of unregulated commerce in recent years, a trend which has intensified in the past few months when job losses have accelerated as the formal economy flounders.
It is estimated that over 80 percent people are formally unemployed although official statistics put the figure at 10 percent.
Harare City Council, in July introduced daily levies for all informal traders in the capital along with a crackdown on vendors operating from undesignated sites and the campaign has spread to other major centres in the country.
The new regulations titled “Harare Vendors By-Laws, 2014,” contained in Statutory Instrument 159 of 2014, published in the government gazette on Friday, empower the council to set aside land or premises for vending. The laws also allows council to register vendors, set tariffs, police and fine them for failure to uphold the law.
The new law replaces the old by-laws of 1983 which were repealed.
Flea market operators are expected to pay $3 while fruit, vegetable, airtime, dried foods and newspaper vendors have to pay $1 daily.
The law stipulates that the permit issued will confine the vendor to a particular stall indicating name of the applicant and period for which the permit is valid and can be renewed on a daily or monthly basis but cannot be transferred to another person. Vendors are not allowed to erect any permanent signs at the stands.
Goods seized for violating the law shall be released after payment of a fine while goods not claimed after 30 days will be auctioned and if the owner does not claim the money within 30 days, it will be forfeited to council, the regulations say.
Harare’s central business district, which has been invaded by informal traders hogging virtually all open space, will have six designated vending sites, with an additional three sites being added later.
Towards end of last month council had registered nearly 5 000 informal traders, including newspaper vendors, in the central business district, after a 30-day campaign.
Vendors continue to operate from undesignated places although council warned that it would fine them.
The government has targeted the informal sector where, according to some estimates, up to $7 billion is circulating, to raise taxes for its empty coffers.- The Source