On Tuesday the 5th of May 2020, VISET received reports from Gweru SOCHAMPs that City of Gweru started yesterday to register vendors who are going to be operating from their identified designated markets which are currently being upgraded. It has been learnt that city council vendors are requested to complete application indicating the line of trade one intends to do and a waiting list fee of 72RTGS dollars is being charged. VISET through the SOCHAMPS leaders will continue monitor the reallocation progress so that deserving vendors get stores. It is also VISET’s hope that the proposed new sites will be environment friendly and have all the necessary ancillary facilities like toilets, tape water, shades and lighting.

SOCHAMPs across the country shared common sentiments that there is growing dissatisfaction and frustrations among informal traders as result of the lockdown extension, the continued ban on informal sector activities and further delay by government to avail cushioning funds for the vulnerable citizens. Reports also alleges that despite the frustrations building among informal traders, citizens in many parts of country are observing COVID 19 safeguarding practices like wearing masks in public spaces. There are also reports that security forces manning roadblocks are still demanding travel permits despite the new directive uplifting the restriction of the same.

Again, on Tuesday the 5th of May 2020, the VISET Masvingo Charter Chairperson had a meeting with the District administrator as a follow up to the letter submitted to City of Masvingo and DA’s office requesting for a MOU with Masvingo City council. The DA showed willingness to support the request by VISET Masvingo charter provided there is a clearance or referral letter from the Ministry of SMEs. To register ministry of SMEs database VISET was requested to submit registration documents to the SMEs office in Masvingo.

In Masvingo on May the 3rd, SOCHAMPs from Masvingo reported that ZRP and Soldiers were blocking fruit and vegetable vendors from ordering stocks from the main market Tanaiva farmer’s Market. The chairperson from Masvingo Mr Banda also reported that security forces were demanding letters of operation sanctioned by City of Masvingo for vendors to go to the market which majority of vendors did not have. Only an estimate of 30 VISET members was reported to have the authorized letters sanction by local authorities to operate their businesses.

Following the COVID-19 presidential address, members with disability from Mabvuku reported that they were going through a rough patch and they have lost hope towards the promised cushioning fund such that they have involuntarily resorted to go back in the street to vend in order so as to address their daily basis needs for their families. Sadly some persons with disability in Mabvuku also reported to be engaging in illegal selling of alcohol in a quest to eke a living.

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