Lusaka City Council acting Public Relations Manager George Sichimba has warned graveyard vendors that they will pay a K5,000 fine when caught selling food.

Speaking during Hot FM’s Hot Breakfast Show yesterday, Sichimba also warned customers that they would also be fined the same amount.

“I want to state now that the SI of 2018, regulation nine, has given us more power to prosecute and the penalty has been hiked. If someone is found wanting or trading in cemetery for example selling food, the penalty now is K5,000 and other items it’s K3,300 and this to us is punitive enough. So, those that are selling in graveyards are not spared by the SI chain because it if you read regulation nine it states that any form of trading is liable to a fine of K5,000 if that person is dealing in food and other items is K3,000. So, the SI chain is important because it has also addressed the issue of people that are buying from these traders. All along the customers have not been addressed but the SI has addressed that so anyone that will be found buying from vendors will also be liable to this penalty. So the warning goes to the mourners, the program there is too short. Stop buying from people that are vending and we are warning the vendors to stop because we are doing operations around the city to try and reinforce the SI and also sensitize people that are not yet selling. So we are doing two things we are sensitizing and reinforcing,” Sichimba said.

Sichimba said people were supposed to apply to the council before setting up any trading area.

“The law I am referring to which is the statutory instrument is talking about council designating, allowing. So, people that want to be trading elsewhere are free to apply to LCC for example if you want to establish. What government is encouraging is that people should apply for trading space so that the council can look at the application and consider designating such a place for such trading. So, that it is very convenient for people to buy even flowers right from the graveyard. For now the graveyard is not designated for such business. So, laws change depending on the demand and the weight of the people. If no one is applying saying they would want to establish such a business in such a place, there is no way the council can designate. So, those that are trading in these places let them consider applying to LCC…the law is not rigid it’s dynamic, it always changes, it comes with demand as well,” he said.

“It depends on the merits, if the application will have a merit and when council sits when we refer to council we are talking about councillors meeting and looking at the demerits and merits of the application they can either reject or approve, depending on the reviling situation.”

He later said the statutory instrument was to be used on each and every Zambian citizen despite their circumstances.

“The law has not said if you are an orphan you can break the law, if you are a widow you can break the law that’s the sad part about the law. It talks about everyone. All of us should abide by the law regardless of our status in society. We are not here to punish anyone but we are here to enforce the law. I want to encourage people to always go through the council before they embark on any business so that they don’t lose any of their resources. We may not be in grave yards everyday but we have workers that can tip us. What we are doing as LCC is working in conjunction with state police. We are doing random operations, and if we find those people we are even prosecuting them. As I speak I can confirm to you that eight people have been found wanting and have been prosecuted so they are subjected to the penalties that I mentioned which they will serve. It is not our wish that people should go to jail over such things. So, the best thing is to abide by the law. If you buy from designated places that’s not a problem but people should be aware that also dumping of waste anyhow is an offense,” said Sichimba.