HARARE – High Court judge, David Mangota, yesterday reserved judgment in a matter in which vendors are seeking to bar the Harare City Council from demolishing their stalls and seizing their wares in the Central Business District.
The vendors’ lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara confirmed the ruling, delivered in Justice Mangota’s chambers.
Through the Vendors Initiative for Social & Economic Transformation (Viset), the hawkers filed an urgent chamber application last week, challenging the ban on their trade in the city centre.
Mangota last week granted an interim relief order, which interdicted the police from continuing with the demolition of vending stalls, pending the outcome of the case.
Bhatasara told the Daily News yesterday that the same order still subsisted until the final order has been handed down.
In the court papers, Viset, which is the applicant, together with Olivia Nhau, cited the City of Harare, Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and police commissioner general Augustine Chihuri as respondents.
The litigation came after an inter-ministerial taskforce led by the Health ministry banned vending of all uncooked and cooked foods following a typhoid outbreak that has killed two people in Harare.
Viset was seeking an order to stop arbitrary demolitions of vending stalls and confiscation of their wares as well as assault of vendors who will be resisting the clampdown on vending.
Bhatasara argued the ban violated many provisions of the Constitution such as Section 74 which stipulates that no one can be evicted from his/her property without a court order.
According to Bhatasara the manner in which the evictions were being carried out was inhuman and degrading as it is often violent.
Bhatasara said the Harare City Council has even involved the riot police who often carry out their duties in a callous and chaotic manner.
The advocate added that while typhoid is a disease that thrives in unhygienic environments, councillors are turning a blind eye on the mounds of uncollected garbage in the city.
Bhatasara highlighted that without proper functioning public toilets and adequate water supplies, people are forced to relieve themselves in alleys and behind garbage piles.
“The city fathers are to blame for the typhoid outbreak and not vendors,” he argued.