About 100 irate Kabwe traders yesterday condemned the Kabwe Municipal Council for bringing down their booths in the Central Business District (CBD) in a joint operation with state police, describing the act as inhumane.
The booth agents, who stormed the civic centre demanding to be addressed by the Town Clerk, lamented that they woke up to a rude shock when they found their booths brought down and their merchandise missing.
One of the traders, Watson Mwale, said he was called by a friend around 05:00 hours to rush to town where council police were demolishing structures.
Mwale wondered why the council had treated him like a criminal when he had complied with the trading conditions they gave him.
“I feel disrespected by the council action because I was not engaged. Before setting up my container, I actually consulted the council and I complied with the conditions they gave me as well as paid all the required fees. I don’t even know where they have taken my goods worth over K9, 000. How do I survive now? I have school fees and other bills to pay this month” said Mwale.
Another trader, Ruth Kamwendo, who owns 4 mobile money booths, said she felt duped by the Local Authority because barely a week after paying an annual business levy of about K750, the council swung into action bringing her business to a standstill.
“I was made to pay K750 business levy and in addition I have to pay about 15 percent of my profits to ZRA. Why pay these taxes if we being treated like this. The government has failed to employ us and yet when we do business, we are being inconvenienced,” lamented Kamwendo.
And in addressing the traders, Town Clerk Ronald Daka apologised to those with proper documentation for being inconvenienced during the operation.
Daka, however, maintained that the operation was in accordance with the law as part of the council’s mandate to ensure order and sanity in the manner business was conducted in the municipality.
“The operation we carried out is in compliance with the law. We understand that through those booths, you are earning a living but we need to also adhere to the law in the manner we conduct business. It is regrettable that we have been compelled to reach this far because last year we gave several reminders for people trading in town to move to designated places. Sadly, our reminders have not been heeded to,” said Daka.