Harare City Council has resolved to recruit an additional 300 municipal police officers to enforce the ban on pushcarts in the central business district as the local authority moves to bring sanity in the capital.
The council human resources committee last week told a full council meeting that the municipal police department was severely understaffed and could not cope with pressure caused by illegal vendors, hence, the need to hire additional manpower.
“The human capital director advised that the metropolitan police division was severely understaffed with about 70 officers in the central business district. Council has, however, written seeking ministerial authority to recruit 300 municipal police officers,” the council minutes read.
Currently, the local authority is battling to deal with vendors who have spread even to the upmarket section in the city centre conducting any business such as roasting of fresh maize and in some cases, selling second-hand clothing in front of exclusive shops and supermarkets.
“No one will come to invest in the local authority which is dirty like ours. How can you ask for rentals from shops when you have vendors selling goods at the doorstep of their shops? We have to do something before the elections. We are a laughing stock in the country,” Alderman Samuel Chinyowa said as he moved the motion of hiring additional metro police officers.
He was supported by councillor Herbert Gomba who said: “What I saw today, Your Worship, when we were touring with the (Local Government) minister (Saviour Kasukuwere) is really embarrassing. We found people cooking sadza for sale in an unhealthy environment. You wonder whether this is a capital city and we are here as councillors doing nothing about it. We must act. We will not get any investment if we don’t act.”
Acting town clerk Josephine Ncube (pictured) told the chamber that so far, council had engaged the police to embark on a clean-up exercise which would see the bulk of vendors being driven away from the city centre.
Meanwhile, councillors requested Kasukuwere to increase Chinyowa’s allowances in honour of his status as alderman.
Although at law Chinyowa would be given a free honorary parking disc and have his residential property exempted from paying city rates during his lifetime among other benefits, councillors want the Zanu PF civic leader to enjoy more.
“The monetary allowances would cover some daily costs in pursuance of civic and council duties. It accordingly asked the acting town clerk and His Worship the mayor to impress on the minister to positively consider the proposal,” the minutes read.