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Operation Murambatsvina - Countrywide evictions of urban poor - Index of articles
Government determined to keep city "clean"
October 04, 2005
JOHANNESBURG - The Combined Harare Residents
Association (CHRA) said on Tuesday that the arrest of thousands
of informal traders over the past two weeks was likely to exacerbate
the economic crisis in the capital city.
On Monday the official newspaper, The Herald, reported that around
14,000 illegal vendors and foreign currency and fuel dealers had
been arrested during a follow-up operation to the urban clean-up
campaign earlier this year.
"Yes, we have launched Operation Siyapambili, Hatidzokereshure (Going
forward, No turning back). [It] aims to make follow-ups to monitor
the city so that we deal with any of those who are returning to
the city and conducting shady dealings," police spokesman Loveless
Rupere was reported as saying.
The police claimed that the most recent campaign had brought Zim
$782 million (US $30,000) into the city coffers in fines.
However, CHRA chairman Mike Davies told IRIN he was unsure whether
the latest arrests were informal traders who had returned after
being evicted by Operation Murambatsvina ('Drive Out Filth') or
other traders who had come to set up shop in their stead.
"There is an assumption that those who were arrested are people
returning to their stalls, but it is still unclear because there
is very little information. We do not have access to the records
of the arrests, or if people have just been given a spot fine and
then released," Davies said.
"Fines are supposed to act as a deterrent and not be seen as an
income generating exercise," he pointed out. "Furthermore, we have
learnt that even though the trader may be breaking city by-laws,
the proceeds from the fines are being sent to the national government."
A UN report estimated that Operation Murambatsvina - which the government
said was aimed at clearing slums and flushing out criminals - had
left more than 700,000 people homeless or without a livelihood after
kicking off in mid-May.
IRIN reported last month that although traders were slowly returning
to the city to do business, a new set of stringent by-laws had made
it difficult for them to make a living.
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