The polishing of shoes along the streets of Blantyre City will be prohibited by the City Council’s by-laws from Monday 3 August, 2017.
Tommy one of the shoe polishers inn the City of Blantyre
Confirming the development in an interview, the Blantyre City Council (BCC) Spokesperson, Anthony Kasunda, said if the shoe shiners are to continue with their businesses, they need to obtain business premises licenses following the normal channels unlike the current scenario where the trade is being conducted in undesignated places.
“One has to obtain an application form and pay necessary fees after indicating business premises and the council has to approve the application,” explained Kasunda.
One of the shoe shiners who operates along the Victoria Avenue, Dixon Tommy, said ever since the issue came up, they have made various efforts to meet the council officials in order to formalize their businesses, but they have not been given an audience.
“We are told that we are messing up the city and yet our nature of business does not even generate any rubbish,” explained Tommy.
Tommy compared his business to that of airtime vendors and tailors noting that his business could be much cleaner.
“They confiscated all our tools such as shoe polish and brushes and we have since made three trips to the council’s office to seek the way forward yet we have been ignored,” added Tommy.
Tommy explained that he cannot afford to leave his shoe polishing business which he has been doing since 2001 saying it is the only source of income he has known ever since ,he became an adult.
Gift Zinyongo another Shoe polisher within the city wishes if the council could understand that not everyone can be formerly employed hence their engagement in the shoe polishing business.
On his part, Cossam Nyambose, a shoe shiner customer said it is unfair to force the shoe polish vendors out of the streets because they do not litter the streets unlike other businesses.
“Blantyre is a clean city that looks better with smartly dressed dwellers of which a good fraction get their descent looks from these street shoe polishers. With no personal cars, we walk in dusty roads and by the time we get to town, we are not as neat as we would love to appear hence we patronize these shoe polishers,” explained Nyambose.
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