The Kabwe Municipal Council has directed all street vendors trading in edible goods to vacate the streets because their business contravenes the Public Health Act. This is according to council deputy director of public health Victor Kagoli.
But the United Street Vendors Foundation (USVF) says any efforts to remove the vendors will be met with equal resistance.
Mr Kagoli said for a long time the vendors have been openly trading in foodstuffs such as fried chips, chicken and meat with impunity.
He said the vendors had been given up to Thursday to move out of the streets failure to which the local authority would move in to reinforce the law and confiscate all their merchandise.
Mr. Kagoli said the Public Health Act did not allow open trading of foodstuffs because this had the potential to transmit diseases.
He also stated that instead of just moving in to enforce the law, the council had engaged vendors to sensitise them on the dangers of their trade.
Mr Kagoli said there were many emissions from moving vehicles which polluted the air hence the need for the food traders to conduct their businesses from secured premises.
But USVF president Ted Sinkala has castigated the council and described their intentions as an illegality.
Mr. Sinkala said that any efforts to remove the vendors will be met with equal resistance.
He warned that officers who would dare the vendors risked losing their jobs because his organisation had an agreement with the Government.
Mr Sinkala accused some council workers of working against the Government, insisting that President Michael Sata (late) had directed that no local authority should chase vendors from their trading places.
He urged councils countrywide to heed Government’s directive to first find alternative places for trading before chasing the vendors.
Mr Sinkala cited the Lusaka City Council as one of the councils which has allocated an area near Simoson building and now were making arrangements to relocate the vendors.
And some vendors spoken to appealed to the council to rescind their decision because the streets assured them a livelihood.
They complained that chasing them from the streets would subject them to untold misery because they had no alternative jobs to do.