By Martin Mawaya
Police in the Midlands province has warned people against setting up illegal markets at their homes saying that those found on the wrong side of the law face arrest and their wares confiscated.
Since the removal of vendors by Gweru City Council from Kudzanayi long distance bus terminus and Kombayi fresh produce market among other trading markets in the Central Business District (CBD) in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19 novel, informal traders have turned their residential homes into vending markets.
The local authority was implementing the government directive of clearing up the central business district.
The move saw thousands of informal traders who relied on these structures for trading turning their homes into market places waiting for councils to come up with new vending stalls.
As a result, there has been a surge in vending tables with fruit and vegetables, groceries and second-hand clothes at the gates of residents all over the city’s locations, with vendors saying they are now working from home.
Midlands Provincial police spokesperson Inspector Joel Goko in an interview recently said it is illegal for people to turn their homes into vending markets without following laid down procedures.
He said the police working with the local authority will take action against home market owners.
“We have noticed a surge in vending markets or stalls in the city and that is against the law. Vendors or those who want to trade must follow laid down procedures. They must only trade at designated points and right now councils are busy renovating trading places. So we urge residents to wait until they are given places to trade from or we will arrest them and they stand to lose their wares,” he said.
Gweru Traders Association chairperson Mr Everest Mbenjani confirmed that some vendors had resorted to selling goods from their homes so that they make ends meet.
“Yes some of our members are trading from their homes because they want to survive as we wait to be allocated new vending sites by the council. We welcome the new sites but we know they won’t be ready soon. So in the meantime, they are trading,” said Mr Mbenjani.
Mr Mbenjani said some of his members were still to receive the ZWL$300 cash payments from Government and had to turn to trade from their homes to put food on their tables.
He said there is a need for the council and the police to reach a consensus considering that trading is the source of livelihood of their members.
“Some members are still to get the payments and are struggling to survive. Yes there are by-laws, there are rules and regulations to be followed but we are a special group, we have special circumstances which we feel are valid and we should be allowed to trade,” said Mr Mbenjani.