Friday, December 16, 2011

Sata defends street vendors

Sata defends street vendors
By Staff Reporters
Fri 16 Dec. 2011, 13:59 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has ordered councils countrywide to let street vendors and those operating car wash points to run their businesses without being chased. According to a letter dated December 10, 2011 to town clerks and obtained by The Post, President Sata stated that chasing vendors would make PF unpopular.

He stated that he was displeased over the mistreatment of street vendors and ordered a stop to their harassment. President Sata said councils should concentrate on their core functions on behalf of the people they were elected to serve.

"I am very disappointed with you. Local government does not mean only chasing people from streets or car washes. Those are the people we promised to give employment of which we have not done so. Yet they are using initiative to create employment for themselves," stated President Sata.

He added that local government was fast growing and needed to be re-organised.
"Local government is a very fast growing organisation which you need to reorganise other than concentrating on harassing innocent vendors and car washers which will lead to our party being more unpopular," he stated.

President Sata ordered that the harassment of vendors and car washers should immediately come to a stop.

"I am very reluctant to write this type of a letter but unfortunately, I cannot take any more complaints from the people we promised to create employment for. We need water, more houses and better roads to ease the traffic on our roads.

Your fire service is non-existent; you have abandoned garbage collection and unblocking of your drainages. I am aware that everything is your business," he stated.

"Please let us concentrate on our business on behalf of the people we were elected to serve and leave the street vendors and car washers alone."

In October, local government minister Prof Nkandu Luo directed all local authorities to immediately stop issuing permits to operators of car washes.

"I am hereby directing all local authorities to stop issuing permits to operators of car washes until a full audit has been conducted," she said.

Prof Luo said there was need to put in a regulatory framework that should set minimum standards and procedures for construction and operation of car washes.

On increased street vending, Prof Luo said there was need for the government to clean up cities like Lusaka, which had witnessed an influx of street vendors and increased outbreak of cholera during the rainy season.

Recently an attempt was made to remove street vendors on the Copperbelt Province but the move was met with resistance.

Prof Luo later said the ministry had instructed all councils to form task forces to handle the removal of street vendors.

Prof Luo said the programme also involved sensitising vendors on the negative effects of street vending.

She said while government appreciated police assistance in moving vendors from streets, the exercise should be handled in a sober and careful manner.

On the Copperbelt, street vendors fought running battles with the state and council police deployed in the city centre to enforce a ban on street vending by the local authority.

Copperbelt, Lusaka, Southern are among some of the provinces that have been trying to enforce the ban on street vending.

President Sata is seen as partly owing his electoral victory to his rhetoric against abusive investors and his populist appeal to unemployed youths.

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