I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a prosperous 2016. I am happy we have started the year on a high with regards your concerns over vending and the solutions that we may have as a city.
Ladies and gentlemen solutions to problems affecting our city are a collective responsibility. We need your input, your participation, your involvement and above all your interest in city affairs.
Once we get that right – I am confident we can begin talking the same language. A few admissions have to be made before we delve into the matter before us today. Vendors did not choose to be in the business they are today. The influx of vending is a response to the economy, the job losses, the dwindling industrial base, company closures among a host of other compelling reasons.
Do we sit back and use all the above justifications for the messy that we are in today? I hope not.
We are being very proactive. We realise that the informal sector is now the economy. A lot of our people are now into vending and are making a living from selling different wares and artefacts. Even graduates are now in the informal sector as vendors.
In our 2016 budget we set aside US$3 million for the construction of usable trading sites. Sites with a roof above the head, sites that are accessible, sites that are attractive, sites that resonate with our vision of becoming a World Class City by 2025.
Our officials are busy on the ground putting final touches to the designs and copying from other best practices so that we can begin the construction work.
Ladies and gentlemen, in the meantime we are ensuring that all vending takes places at designated places. We still have a few who violate the law and still want to trade from pavements, at road intersections, road islands and so forth. Our enforcement guys are always on the ball- doing their daily policing duties.
You may be asking. Are you winning? Yes we are. Together with your participation and cooperation we will be able to win much bigger battles.
A big issue with vendors is arising at suburban shopping centres where the vendors are accosting shoppers and at times forcing them to buy their wares. Recently I visited Chisipite Shopping Centre which is in my ward following complaints from shop owners over the desertion of the centre by customers due to the menace of the vendors.
We are soon going to meet with the vendors to lay the ground rules and to restrict them to designated selling points.
On the issue of garbage we have started a programme in the CBD where all vendors take responsibility of their surroundings. Each vendor should clean the area around their trading slots.
Ladies and gentlemen, I could go on and on. I now want to interact with you and respond to any questions that you may have and to also take note of the solutions that are abundantly resident within your ranks.