SOLWEZI Municipal Council says street vendors have become a nuisance and a hindrance to the Keep Zambia Clean campaign but the vendors say the council has no power to interfere with their operations.
Council public relations officer Thandiwe Thembo said the vendors have continued disposing their waste in the streets of Solwezi town.
“The vendors have continued littering the streets of Solwezi, giving the central business district a bad and dirty outlook,” she said.
Ms Thembo maintained that it was within their mandate as a council to remove street vendors and any other people causing a nuisance.
“According to the Local Government Act of 2007 on street vending and nuisances, we as the council reserve the right to evict them from the streets” she said.
Ms. Thembo said the council will still remove the vendors with force if necessary, she said.
She said the decision by the council to remove the vendors was in line with the council’s desire to enhance the Keep Zambia clean campaign.
But Foundation for Vendors and Traders in Solwezi has said they will not move without a directive from President Edgar Lungu for them to vacate the streets.
Jack Kalemba said the council’s threats of removing vendors was unlawful and against the President’s directive.
“We have been allowed to sell in the streets according to the directive that came from the President so not even the council can make us move,” he said. He said vendors in other towns have been allowed to go about their businesses without interference from the council.
Mr. Kalemba said councils in other parts of the country understood that it was not their decision to remove vendors.
“In Lusaka and Kitwe the vendors are selling freely; so why should they choose to remove us in Solwezi,” he said.
Mr. Kalemba said removing the traders from the streets will increase the rate of poverty because street vending was a source of livelihood for most traders in Solwezi.
He said the council could not force the vendors to go into designated markets because they were full. He added that the markets did not provide a favourable business environment for the vendors.
“As far as we are concerned we will continue selling in the streets and not even the council can evict us,” he said.
He said the council should consult the foundation before taking steps to evict the vendors.