KITWE City Council (KCC) has ordered traders in 21 markets in the district to stop selling alcohol within seven days or face the law.
KCC Town Clerk Bornwell Luanga said yesterday that failure to stop selling liquor would attract stiff penalties for the offenders under the Markets and Bus Stations Act No. 7 of 2007.
Mr Luanga said the ban of alcohol sale in markets would enable the local authority to prudently manage the affairs of the markets and that this was in the interest of the traders.
"We are giving them one week from now to clear off stocks of alcohol. Failure to stop, our director of legal services will take up the matter to prosecute the offenders because it is a prosecutable offence," he said.
He said liquor should not be sold in markets as it contributed to moral decay, adding that the local authority was geared to maintain law and order in markets on behalf of the Government.
He urged traders to convert their alcohol selling businesses to trading in other commodities so that they did not lose their stalls.
"They should convert their business to sell other items in the interim as they look for alternative trading places where to sell liquor," he said.
Mr Luanga assured that the KCC would ensure that traders did not abrogate the Markets and Bus Stations Act because the offence carried a jail term or community sentence.
He said a market and a bus station was managed and operated in accordance with the Food and Drug Act, the Public Health Act and the Weights and Measures Act.
"A person who contravenes this section commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding 30, 000 penalty units and a further fine not exceeding 1, 000 penalty units for each day the contravention continues or in default of payment, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months," he warned.
Mr Luanga said the previous strategies implored to address alcohol sale in markets had failed to abate the public nuisance because it had not been effective.
The local authority applied the Public Health Act to combat public nuisance and had modified its current strategies to engage the traders in ensuring that alcohol sale was stopped in markets.
He said in an interview after briefing the Press that there were over 100 traders at Chisokone Market engaged in illegal sale of alcohol.
Stella Mulenga, who has been trading at Chisokone market since 1974 then known as Green market, said the decision by the Council to ban alcohol sale was done in good faith.
Ms Mulenga said the ban would bring about sanity among youths and public transport operators especially conductors because the alcohol sale was done with impunity.
Several other traders welcomed the ban, saying it was long overdue and hoped the concerned traders would abide by the KCC order.