Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa says the Lusaka City Council (LCC) will soon dispatch its officers around the city to arrest and confiscate goods from vendors who are trading illegally in the Central Business District.

And Sampa says the local authority will soon roll out an exercise of removing all money transfer and other booths erected in Lusaka’s town centre without the permission of the Council.

In an interview, Sampa reiterated government’s position that street vending is illegal in Zambia, and that anyone found wanting of the same would be arrested and punished.

“Street vending is illegal! Unless you have a hawker’s license. Soon, we will start giving hawker’s license, where someone will be wearing a big badge from the Council. Those will be allowed to walk around and sell their merchandise as long as it’s on their body and as long as they are moving, they are not positioned in one place. So, we will be giving those licenses, anyone wearing a big placard or a big license on their body from the Council to show that they have been authorised as hawkers. A hawker’s license is allowed when someone is walking around and selling their merchandise. What is not allowed is putting your goods on the floor and start to sell on the streets, there is no license for that, it’s illegal and we are discouraging that to fight cholera and to make the city clean,” Sampa explained.

“But if someone is selling something and is walking and they have our license to do that, that is acceptable. So, those trading outside shopping malls like South Gate, where we have seen people selling all sorts of perishables, they need to go back to the markets! The markets, like the ones at Lumumba bus stop there, it’s been constructed by the Council, but it’s empty and people are preferring to be outside! So, when and if arrested by Council police, don’t complain because even the goods they catch you with becomes exhibit at the Council court, and you don’t retrieve it. So, just obey the rules and don’t sell on the streets! This exercise will start soon, it’s just that we were understaffed as Council police, but in the last four weeks, we have engaged another 100 Council police. So, they are just doing trainings at Edwin Imboela stadium with the police to make them physically fit and you will see them swinging into action.”

The Mayor also disclosed that the LCC would be undertaking an exercise to remove illegal money transfer booths that have erected in the city without the Council’s permission.

“Over 60 or 70 per cent of the people putting up booths in town have no proper licenses from the Council. But there are some who we gave licenses to put the booths, those are okay and they are not our target. Our target are those illegal ones that are just mushrooming everywhere! They mount booths in wrong places, some places are reserved for cars, but these people are just putting without the Council’s consent. So, those are illegal and those are the ones the Council police will get and remove them. So, the message to those who are sponsoring booths: make sure you have Council permission and license,” advised Sampa.