LUSAKA City Council yesterday demolished structures between Lumumba Road and the Simoson Building lane following the local authority’s decision to relocate street vendors from Cairo, Lumumba and Los Angeles roads.
But the traders at Simoson area who had their property destroyed by the council have vowed not to allow the council to relocate the vendors without meeting their demands.
One of the traders, Eziel Mulenga Chanda, told the Daily Nation that the council did give them the letters that they should remove their structures but that they were waiting for the correct procedure before the council could embark on the demolition exercise.
Mr Mulenga said if the council’s intention would benefit the traders, there would be no problem but warned that they would react if the plan did not suit them.
“And we want to warn the council that if their decision to move us here and demolish our property means well for us, we will not have no problem with them, but if they go against their intentions for this place, we want to let them know that we will not take it kindly,” he said. Mr Mulenga said a number of properties destroyed in the operation was worth more than K100, 000.
And a check by the Daily Nation revealed that a number of stalls were demolished by the council.
And a huge crowd of vendors were seen busy allocating themselves stalls at the car park which will now be their new trading site.
But spokesperson for the business community on Simon Mwewa Lane, Chitambala Mwewa, said unregulated street vending by the LCC would only increase crime in the area.
Mr Mwewa said he hoped the council would honour their promise that the plan would benefit both vendors and the business community.
He said the business community at Simoson building was devastated by the local authority’s move and that it would only exacerbate the lack of parking in the area even further.
“As you are aware this area makes up a large portion of the central business district and as things stand now, there is no adequate parking. This move by council will only serve to exacerbate the lack of parking even further. People who come to this area to shop across the street at City Market, or do their shopping at Spa Soweto or banking transactions at Barclays Soweto branch will have nowhere to park,” he said.
Mr Mwewa said the council had failed to perform, adding that uncollected garbage would heap up at an alarming rate and eventually results into diseases, and that sanitation challenges would be high, considering that the local authority had failed to control it in the central business district.
“And these are the things that concern us as a business community at Simoson; we shall wait and see where the council will lead us, and we can only hope that the situation will be better than the current mess we are seeing now,” he said.
And LCC public relations manager Habeenzu Mulunda said the council would soon start the process of relocating the vendors now that they have taken a step by demolishing some structures at the area.
He said the place should be in the first place be ready for merchandise before they could relocate the vendors, and that some works would be done to ensure it reached its standard.