Stalled construction works at the vendors’ site on the west of Lumumba road adjacent to Simoson Building is as a result of court matters raised by affected business houses, says the Lusaka City Council.
LCC town clerk Alex Mwansa said some business houses have sued the local authority for allegedly disturbing their operations in the area by allocating the said piece of land for the relocation of street vendors from major streets around the central business district.
Mr Mwansa said the council, just as the vendors, was anxious at getting the area worked on in readiness for the relocation, but that it was barred by the court action.
He explained that there was still a lot to be done before the vendors could be moved, including construction of ablution blocks and water supply to good sanitation.
“Initially, we targeted to have finished by the October 2014 Independence Jubilee Celebrations, but Simoson filed an injunction to restrain further works at the site. The matter is still in court and until it is disposed of, we cannot continue with the construction works at the place,” he said.
Some vendors have accused the council of going behind their back and trading off “their” area for excess revenue instead of allocating the piece of land to them.
Mr Mwansa said so far, there has been a compromise reached in the matter but until it is signed, there was nothing the council could do at the area.
He said the court matter had contributed to the delays and non-progression of works to make the area habitable as a market, as it required water and toilet facilities for the people.
Mr Mwansa said the council had already engaged services of a contractor to work on the construction of a toilet block and installation of a whole new water reticulation programme in the area.
And the Town clerk was hopeful that the court matter could soon be resolved to allow for the council to complete its works and provide some descent trading place for hundreds of the street vendors around Lusaka City.
A group of street vendors have complained about the long delays in the preparations and completion of works at the suggested vendors’ market west of Lumumba Road.
They accused the council of trading off their piece of land provided for them by President Michael Sata before he died.