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Vendors threaten to sue HCC over violence

by Staff reporter
21 Mar 2024 at 08:46hrs | Views
INFORMAL traders have threatened to sue the Harare City Council (HCC) for using severe force during raids against suspected illegal vendors.

This follows a video circulating on social media showing Harare municipal police bludgeoning a vendor whose goods they had confiscated.

In a statement, Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (Viset) director, Samuel Wadzai said the brutality was unwarranted.

"To say we are livid at the disproportionate application of force on an unarmed citizen trying to eke a living would be a gross understatement," Wadzai said.

"We wish to put on notice municipal and other law enforcement agents that acts of disproportionate application of force will be rewarded with legal ramifications, both individually and collectively, and do not criminalise survival."

Wadzai described the current situation was a reflection of a deteriorating justice system whereby the poor are denied recourse.

"What particularly irks us as an organisation is that ... many (have no) recourse to justice when unjustifiably getting their goods confiscated, in contravention of their constitutional rights," he charged.

Viset was part of stakeholders who came together to birth Harare's small to medium enterprises policy, a document which recognises the right to dignity of informal economy workers.

"Sadly, this document has only been launched and not been implemented, giving way to suspicions that this was only for election campaign purposes. We applaud the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare for putting together the formalisation strategy draft document together; we hope the process is finalised without further delay," he added.

HCC spokesperson Stanley Gama told NewsDay that the matter regarding the viral video was being investigated.

"We are still investigating the issue and if that person is found to be working under the council, disciplinary action will be taken as we do not tolerate such behaviour.

"The mayor even addressed the city council police whereby he pleaded with them to follow proper laws and respect human rights as vendors are humans," emphasised Gama.

He also said there were plans to roll out customer care and human rights courses among council workers.

Source - newsday
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