Zimbabwe: Roadside Informal Traders Given Four-Day Ultimatum to Vacate

3 June 2021

Government has given Harare informal traders operating on road servitudes up to Sunday to vacate and remove their properties in line with the Roads Act.

The Road Act in section 48 states that it is prohibited to trade on roads unless with written permission from the Road Authority. It also states that any person who does shall be guilty of a level eight offence subject to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding two years.

In a statement, Harare Provincial Development Coordinator Tafadzwa Muguti said the operation will be jointly carried by law enforcement agents from the Police and local authorities including the Ministry of Transport.

"The Provincial Development Directorate for the Government in Harare Metropolitan Province has noted with great concern the rising number of unregistered informal traders of furniture, bricks, sand quarry stones and car sales businesses operating along road servitudes. We hereby inform all occupants of road servitudes that they have until Sunday the 7th of June 2021 to vacate and remove all their property, vehicles and destroy any infrastructure erected on road servitudes.

"The Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development and all respective local authorities namely City of Harare, Chitungwiza Municipality, Ruwa local board and Epworth Local Board shall therefore enforce a Province wide joint operation from Monday the 8th of June 2021," said Muguti.

He said the Government will engage the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate officials who authorised business to trade on road servitudes.

"Furthermore, we shall be requesting the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) to immediately investigate all council officials who issued irregular authorizations for car sales and business to trade in road servitudes.

"All local authorities have been instructed to institute internal investigations and verify all leases issued on behalf of council, in the interim no further leases should be issued affecting road servitudes. We have also noted with concern statements and videos circulating on social media of politicians and activists intimidating Town Clerks whilst encouraging resistance, lawlessness and inciting violence complaining there are no council resolutions to enforce the Roads Act." he said.

Muguti added "We encourage such people not to be ignorant but actually know and respect the law including by-laws. We do not need council resolutions as Government to enforce the law, we expect councils likewise to enforce all laws of the land within their localities. Harare Metropolitan Province now has a zero tolerance policy on lawlessness, corruption and intimidation of officials."

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