Police have arrested 700 suspected illegal forex dealers and vendors in Bulawayo in a four-day operation that was premised at restoring order in the second-largest city in Zimbabwe.
The blitz started on Tuesday last week and is reportedly ongoing. The development was confirmed by Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube in an interview with The Chronicle on Sunday.
Ncube said that the operation was likely to see more forex dealers, known as osiphatheleni, arrested as more police officers were being deployed. He said:
By Friday we netted over 700 vendors and osiphatheleni in the CBD. The operation is an ongoing deployment to ensure sanity in town. More than 200 police officers flooded Tredgold area Chicken Inn, Herbert Chitepo and 4th Avenue and many other areas targeting osiphatheleni, vendors and illegal fuel dealers.
He added that all those arrested were taken to Bulawayo Central Police Station where more than 500 paid fines of up to ZW$500.
Meanwhile, some analysts believe that arresting traders is tantamount to addressing symptoms of an issue adding that as long as foreign currency is scarce, forex dealers will always be there while vending will linger for as long as the local industry is not revived.