Masvingo — Poorly remunerated municipal police have resorted to looting second hand clothes (mabhero) from vendors for personal use under the guise of clearing vendors in the CBD.
This comes as the local authority is struggling to pay its workforce on time.
In most cases the workers go for months without receiving their wages.
So bad is the situation that it has raised the ire of the Masvingo Residents and Ratepayers Alliance (MURRA) who called on the municipality to reign in its thieving workforce.
MURRA information officer Mtimba said the actions of the municipal cops were criminal and a violation of the majority of residents' rights who earn a living through vending.
"Residents have the right to sell their wares within the city; what council should be doing is to regulate areas where these vendors would sell their wares and designate them as legal selling points and end this harassment of vendors which has seen cops taking away their goods which they (cops) later turn to personal use for free," Mtimba said.
Speaking during a Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Association (ZICHEA) meeting held in Masvingo recently, vendors accused council cops of deliberately targeting vendors selling mabhero. According to the vendors, the cops later hand over the clothes to their families for their own use.
"What council and its workers are doing is not fair; some council workers have resorted to replenishing their wardrobes by taking our goods during their operations.
"They later take the same goods to their families without paying for them yet they forget that we had also bought the items for resale," fumed one vendor during the meeting.
Other vendors chipped in and said the municipal police also loot vegetables and fruits which they take to their families for consumption.
ZICHEA secretary general Wibson Malaya said they were going to notify the local authority through the housing department to get solutions to the matter.
"We are in a process of making sure that the right to market is granted to vendors in Masvingo. We will engage the local authority to find lasting solutions to this problem," Malaya said.