Pushcarts face city centre ban

The Chronicle

Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Reporter

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) intends to ban push carts, popularly known as “Scanias” from operating within the city centre while also criminalising displaying goods on the city’s pavements, triggering an outcry from the affected people. 

The local authority wants to repeal the Bulawayo (Clamping and Tow-away) By-laws of 2006, published in Statutory Instrument 231 of 2006 and city’s clamping and tow –away by-laws of 2015 published in Statutory Instrument 63 of 2015 and the Bulawayo (Roads and Traffic) By- laws of 1978.

In the event that the proposed regulations sail through, those in violation of the by-laws will be liable for prosecution with their properties impounded.

Pushcart operators eke out a living through carrying goods mainly for vendors from the market to various destinations in the city. 

Under the proposed Bulawayo (Municipal Roads and Traffic Laws) (offences and fixed penalties) and Clamping and Tow-way by-laws of 2022, push carts shall not be allowed in the city centre with violation of the proposed by-laws attracting a level one fine and impounding costs.

According to Section 8 of the proposed by-law, goods displayed on the pavement will be removed and impounded and a fine at level 3 per item.

Most of the people who display goods are street vendors operating on several busy pavements dotted in the city centre.

According to the new proposals, push carts shall not be allowed in the part of the central city centre bounded by 3rd Avenue, Lobengula Street, 12th Avenue and R. Mugabe way.

“Push carts shall not be allowed in the part of the central business area bounded by 3rd Avenue, Lobengula Street, 12th Avenue and R. Mugabe way. Any violation will attract a level one fine plus impounding costs,” reads section 7 (g) of the proposed by-law.

“Goods displayed on the pavement will be removed and impounded and charged a fine at level 3 per item.”

In separate interviews, push cart operators, said the proposed laws will push them out of business. They urged council to consider regulating their industry by introducing operators’ licences to bring sanity.

“We survive through this business and you will realise that some of us are actually professionals, but due to unemployment we ended up resorting to pushing carts. I am actually a qualified builder and have a family to look after hence I implore BCC to at least come up with terms and conditions of how we should operate,” said Mr Elson Moyo.

Another pushcart operator, Mr Cosmos Dube said the proposed by-laws will not deter them from operating in the city centre given the prevailing difficult economic environment in the country.

A man delivers a cart load of mattresses manufactured in the western suburbs of Bulawayo to a city centre shop. (Picture by Dennis Mudzamiri)

“They may come up with those by-laws, but we will not stop because that is how we earn a living. In fact, we have always been involved in cat and mouse games with municipal police and nothing will change even if council introduces new by-laws. This business is what makes us put food on the table,” he said.

Mr Gift Khumalo urged council to regulate the business instead of completely banning pushcart operators from the city centre. 

“I appreciate the need to put decongestion measures in the city centre, including the introduction of parking fees for cars, but I am of the opinion that the local authority should have a human face by allowing us to operate in the prime business area,” he said.

 “In my case, I usually target travellers who will be disembarking from cross-border buses and these buses offload in the city centre. Removing us from the city centre means I will be out of business because there are no offloading zones for these buses on the periphery of the city centre.”

Ms Monica Ngwenya, a street vendor said: “I eke out a living through selling my wares in shop verandas and this is how I take my children to school and pay council rates. Removing me from the pavements means I will have challenges in terms of paying water bills and rates among others.”– @skhumoyo2000

Article Source: The Chronicle

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