Local Government Minister Charles Banda has reiterated that street vending in the country is illegal unless when conducted in designated places as prescribed by the local authorities.
Dr. Banda explained that the Statutory Instrument (SI) number 10 of 2010 still remains in force unless Cabinet or a Council of Ministers decides otherwise.
Dr. Banda, who was in the company of Lusaka City Mayor Miles Sampa told journalists in Lusaka yesterday that there are only two designated places namely Simon Mwewa Lane and Lumumba Road for venders in Lusaka.
He explained that the Central Business District of Lusaka should be left free of vending because these places lack basic social amenities and other auxiliary facilities which are ideal for trading.
“Let me reiterate that street vending in Lusaka and elsewhere is illegal and the status quo remains unless Cabinet or the Council of Ministers decides otherwise,” he said.
The Local Government Minister added that it was difficult to manage people who are trading in undesignated areas and it becomes a huge challenge to provide adequate sanitary services to them.
Dr. Banda noted that in view of the current outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was almost impossible to ensure social distancing is observed and the provision of hand sanitisers to both venders and their clients.
“Let our people go and trade in designated areas dotted across the city and this also applies to other districts that are grappling with this issue as well,” he said.
Dr. Banda’s statement comes in the wake of a protracted wrangle between the LCC and vendors who recently took to the streets to protest their imminent removal from their illegal trading areas.
Meanwhile, Local Government Minister Charles Banda has observed that markets and bus stations were critical sectors to the growth of the Zambian economy.
Dr. Banda said the two also help to meet the demand for goods and services and further provide a livelihood for many Zambians in the informal sector.
Dr. Banda has however noted that as common meeting places, markets and bus stations remain highly vulnerable to disease outbreaks such as the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
He was speaking during a consultative meeting with marketeers associations and other key stakeholders at the Lusaka City Council in Lusaka.
“I am glad that we have been able to meet in this manner to discuss the concerns that have been raised by many stakeholders on the risks that our markets pose to the spread of the coronavirus disease,” he said.
Dr. Banda said the meeting was convened as part of government’s ongoing efforts to reduce the spread of the deadly COVID-19.
“Given the importance of the markets and bus stations, government’s desire is to keep these services running as long as possible, while safeguarding the health of the traders and the rest of the people in these areas,” he said.
He further said government recognizes the efforts that market and bus station associations have continued to make to supplement government’s efforts in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Banda said the two associations have been doing and must be supported, not only by government through the Lusaka City Council (LCC), but by other stakeholders as well.
“We have a mammoth task ahead of us. If we are to protect the lives of the people while safeguarding their livelihoods, we need to step up our efforts and we must be ready as citizens to adjust the way we do things, we need to give up some of our normal activities. This calls for sacrifice from all of us,” he emphasized.
Dr. Banda observed that failure to keep these places clean may entail temporarily closing off the business activities in order to allow for intensive cleaning and disinfection.
The Local Government Minister further observed that this may also entail reducing on the business hours in order to reduce the level of exposure for the traders and buyers.