By Reason Razao
HARARE city council has been ordered to stop issuing business licenses to foreigners, sources within the local authority have revealed.
An inquiry by this publication was made following accusations by Harare North legislator, Rusty Markham, that the local authority had ceased issuance of operating permits to individuals with identification numbers that end with double zero.
“A week ago, the city stopped issuing licenses or processing them for people with citizenship numbers ending in 00, which are basically whites, coloureds and Indians,” Markham said in parliament this week.
“My concern is, if there is a problem, people should be warned they were not warned. When people went to their offices, which I physically did yesterday, I was embarrassed to the extent where the department personnel moved away and the chamber secretary as of now is still unavailable.
“Should I approach the minister of justice to give us a statement as whether I am indigenous or not because my ID ends in 00 or am I still, 42 years after independence, an alien?.”
Currently coloureds, whites and Indians hold ID’s that end with double zero and are the most affected since they own most shops in and around the central business district (CBD).
“Instructions are that council stops issuing licenses to foreigners, this has not yet been shared with everyone and currently very few know where the instruction came from,” said a source close to developments at council.
However, acting council spokesperson, Innocent Ruwende, refuted the allegations saying no such resolutions had been passed and the local authority treated all Zimbabweans alike.
“Council treats all Zimbabweans equally regardless of colour or race. If anyone was affected we urge them to come to our offices so that we can deal with each case on its merits,” Ruwende said.
Markham Friday told this publication, council’s move was disappointing.
“Its time we stop being treated as aliens, as was done during the era of Ian Smith,” said Markham.