Blantyre City Council (BCC) has threatened to demolish stalls that vendors have erected outside Limbe Police Station and Dalton Magistrate’s Court premises.
The development follows concerns from police and court authorities that the presence of vendors next to their premises poses a security risk.
The council last week evicted about 200 vendors from old Limbe bus terminal to pave way for the development of the land having resisted eviction attempts by city fathers since April 2013.
But the vendors then relocated to premises outside the police station and the court where they have been erecting stalls since Monday this week.
A representative of the vendors, Stack Chimalizeni, claimed in an interview on Monday the council allocated them the premises.
But BCC public relations manager, Anthony Kasunda, disputed the claim, emphasising the council was not under any obligation to allocate them land.
Said Kasunda: “The council has not allocated the said premises to the vendors. In fact, our enforcement team has been on the site to evict them.”
He further stated that the council has since advised the concerned vendors to find spaces at the designated market.
But Chimalizeni said there is no space in the designated market.
Deputy public relations officer for Limbe Police Station, Pedzisai Zembeneko, feared that some criminals could take advantage to compromise security at the institutions.
“I just hope that they (BCC) will see the importance of rescinding their decision. Otherwise, people should not blame the police when security breaks down in the coming days because not all that are erecting the stalls here are genuine traders. Some of them are criminals,” he said.
Judiciary spokesperson, Mlenga Mvula, said they were equally surprised with developments taking place at Dalton Magistrate’s Court.
But Mvula disclosed that the Judiciary had not yet approached the council over the issue.
“We’re indeed worried that this will result in security lapses at the court. We believe the council will look into this issue and reconsider its decision,” he explained.
Documents we have seen show that businessman Aboo Faisal bought the land in April 2013 and in an interview, he said he was forced to postpone development of the land because vendors pleaded with him to accommodate them until BCC allocated them an alternative trading area.
“On humanitarian grounds, I understood them. Hence, I could not start developing the land until last week when the council removed them,” he said.