Response to the Statement by the Mayor of Harare and Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Province

The Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) notes and welcomes the joint statement by the Resident Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Province Oliver Chidawu and His Worship Mayor of Harare City Council Herbert Gomba on the clean-up exercise currently underway.

We wholeheartedly support efforts aimed at cleanliness and order to mitigate against the spread of diseases more so in light of the COVID19 pandemic.

As VISET, we however are dismayed that these efforts are reactive in nature. It is our belief that the destructions and demolitions should have taken place after alternate vending sites had been put up.

As we speak, street vendors and informal traders have been deprived of an income and given that no clear timelines have been articulated to completion of the development of alternate sites this then further causes anxiety.

The joint statement is also shockingly silent on the destruction of vendors’ property and wares. We are of the view that a compensation plan must form part and parcel of the reconstruction efforts to assist vendors in also rebuilding their livelihoods.

The officials in their statement spoke on a committee that has been set up. It would appear that the committee comprises everyone BUT the people affected by destruction. It is our view that any meaningful and transparent reallocation exercise MUST include representatives of vendors associations.

Source: Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET)