Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Reporter
BULAWAYO City Council’s operation to curb illegal activities in the city centre from today will not stop until the city is clear and clean, deputy Mayor, Councillor Mlandu Ncube has said.
The Deputy Mayor Councillor Mlandu Ncube
Illegal activities such as trading on undesignated sites on the streets, pavements and roadways, washing of cars, repairing of vehicles, illegal pickup points by private vehicles, commuter omnibuses and buses, delivery of farm produce and other products onto the streets, push carts, heavy commercial vehicles into the city centre has resulted in serious congestion, chaos, littering as well as an increase in pickpocketing.
A banana vendor on the right busy selling his fruits at the intersection of Forty Street and 5th Avenue
Last week town clerk, Mr Christopher Dube gave those involved in such illegal activities up to yesterday to cease their activities ahead of today’s “a clean Bulawayo blitz”. He said the operation is meant to eliminate all illegal activities in a bid to restore order and cleanliness, adding that the city was encouraging trading at designated sites in terms of the municipal laws as that fosters peace, cleanliness and control of all informal trading activities through the associations which have memoranda of understanding (MoU)with the city.
Mr Christopher Dube
Clr Ncube yesterday said council was not going to relent until sanity on the city streets was restored as the situation was presently unbearable.
He said the city was now an eyesore as a result of the free-for-all activities which have become the order of the day.
Some streets like Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues have become a vehicle repair “shop”.
Inter-city buses, especially those plying the Bulawayo-Harare and Bulawayo-Mutare route such as CAG, Joma, Inter-Africa and Farwest have consistently been defying calls to use designated points, but instead they have turned Leopold Takawira Extension opposite Centenary Park into a bus rank which has seen the place heavily littered.
Despite routine operations by both municipal police and the ZRP, the illegal activities have always continued, raising suspicions that some bus operators and vendors could be enjoying some protection.
“Everything is set and we hope the people of Bulawayo will co-operate fully as we move towards cleaning our city and restoring its glory. We are targeting only those that are not compliant with council by-laws and we are not removing people that are operating legally at designated areas. Until the city becomes clear and clean, the operation will not stop,” said Clr Ncube.
He said the operation will be conducted by the municipal police but the Zimbabwe Republic Police will be engaged if need be, especially if there is some resistance from those involved in illegal activities.
On Monday, council held crucial meetings with bus operators and political parties to have a buy-in for the operation with party representatives from Zanu-PF, Zapu, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) and Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) attending.
Last month Government directed BCC to strengthen its by-laws so as to effectively deal with the congestion menace in the city centre.
Local Government and Public Works Minister, July Moyo said BCC should revisit its by-laws and make them relevant to the city’s demands.
Minister of Local Government and Public Works July Moyo
Minister Moyo said the issue of congestion was a serious matter and the onus was on the City to come up with by-laws and strengthen existing ones to address the challenges emanating from illegal vending activities and congestion. — @skhumoyo2000