Pirate taxi operators and illegal vendors have been given 48 hours by the government to clear out streets in all Zimbabwean towns and cities. According to cabinet ministers, failure to do so will result in forced removal by security forces.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, July Moyo, said in a press conference yesterday that his ministry has engaged retired Vice President General Constantino Chiwenga in order to ensure that all security officers over the country take part in this nationwide exercise to combat illegal activities.
Minister Moyo, who was joined by acting Harare town clerk engineer Hosiah Chisango and principal director in the ministry Ms Erica Jones (urban local authorities) warned legislators and councilors of arrest should any of them try to sabotage or undermine this operation to gain political favor.
According to him, a monitoring task force has been put in place to ensure that this operation proceeds as smoothly as possible. “In view of this untenable situation, let us all declare war on illegal vendors and unregistered public transporters.
To the vendors who are operating at undesignated sites, including in front of shops and to unregistered public transporters, you are directed to cease forthwith your activities within the next 48 hours, failure of which you have no one, but yourselves to blame.
I have contacted, before this press conference, the Vice President General Chiwenga to inform him about this statement I am issuing and to seek his assistance so that security agencies can work with the municipalities, town councils, so that we can put to rest this menace that is facing us,” he said.
Minister Moyo said that Government should not be taking these crimes so lightly with the threats of cholera and typhoid have become a reality.
He further stated that although these activities seem miniscule in comparison to others, that they have actually become the cover for various other illegal operations within the CBDs. He said it was vital for the government to investigate the situation and take action before it exploded.
“Such activities are anathema and anachronistic of CBD areas of modern cities, especially capital cities. The menace is further exacerbated by the public transport system which has transformed the CBD into a hazardous jungle”, he stated.
The minister stated that illegal ranks and unregistered public transport such as mushika-shika have been posing a great danger to motorists and pedestrians.
He further stated that vendors should who wanted vending sites should follow the correct channels and approach the municipality in order to be allotted proper vending spaces. “Such culprits [illegal vendors] should be reported to the law enforcement agents who must act, and act now.
We are also calling upon members of the uniformed forces to come and assist the Local Authorities in bringing sanity in our CBDs. Members of the public are urged to cooperate with all forms of law enforcement agents in an effort to eradicate this vice”, he warned.
He further stated that business as usual will not be carrying on as it always has and local authorities should be more assertive when implementing laws, including the new operation to combat illegal activities.
According to him there should be no fear of favor and municipalities should join forces with the police in order to push for the success of this operation.
Many cities and towns in Zimbabwe have already been declared inaccessible to the public because of the illegal activities that the minister wants to eradicate from the country and as a result of the influx of vendors and illegal taxi businesses.
Other efforts by cities and towns in Zimbabwe to stop these operations have rendered unsuccessful and it would seem like there is no other solution, thus the reason for intervention by the government and security forces.
The new operation calls for cities to attract potential investors in order to uplift the lives of locals, but those with funding refuse to invest due to the chaos experienced in many areas of the country.