Byo vendors, council clash over vending bays

One of the three people who were injured during clashes between Bulawayo municipal police and Vendors 4 ED members in the city yesterday

THREE people were injured yesterday when Bulawayo municipal police fired rubber bullets at vendors protesting a move to remove them from the busy 6th Avenue.

Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the injured were admitted at United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH).

“The ZRP confirms the shooting incident in which three people were injured after BCC police fired rubber bullets to disperse a crowd which had gathered to demonstrate against an operation targeting illegal vendors in the Central Business District (CBD),” Nyathi said in a statement.

Bulawayo municipal police clashed with vendors after council confiscated their stalls along 6th Avenue.

A newspaper vendor who witnessed the clashes told Southern Eye that municipal police raided the area early in the morning before the vendors came to work and removed their stands.

“They came here between 4am and 5am and took everything that the vendors use during their trade. When they (vendors) came to work, they found everything gone," the newspaper vendor said.

Another vendor said a group of angry young men and women who claimed to be members of Vendors4ED who had been selling on the streets then began chanting Zanu PF slogans in protest.

When Southern Eye arrived at the scene at around 7:50am, the area had already been deserted.

Later, irate members of the Vendors4ED stormed Bulawayo City Hall in protest over the removal of their tables.  They were immediately dispersed by council security.

Deputy mayor Mlandu Ncube said council never took anything from vendors. He said they merely cleared the place.

“Council never took any vending stands from 6th Avenue.  What council did was to take scraps and sheds that were being used by illegal people who were parading as informal traders,” Ncube said.

“What council did was to clear the road to allow for smooth flow of traffic as it is the responsibility of council to clear roads so that they are easy to use.”

Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Archbold Chiponda said the events were tragic.

“This is scary; I don’t see where in the world shooting of vendors can be justified. I don’t understand the logic that made the council allow this to happen. If it wasn’t for the fiasco at Egodini, this problem wouldn’t even exist. They just targeted everyone selling and there is no such thing as Zanu PF or CCC or Mthwakazi vendors. They just attacked randomly and two people got shot,” Chiponda said.

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