On the 11th of May the High Court ordered the Chinhoyi local authorities to stop demolitions of informal traders’ stalls and repair a shade at Gambeza Flea market which was damaged by Chinhoyi municipality employees as they conducted the demolition operation. The informal traders were represented by ZLHR seeking to stop demolitions. The High Court also ordered that Chinhoyi municipality to renovate shades at Gambeza free market and in the event the council wish to carry out with demolitions it should comply with section 32 of Regional Town and Country Planning act.

On the 12th of May 2020, the City of Masvingo started registration of vendors to acquire 2020 leases which will be renewed annually and allow them to operate in designated areas following the demolitions of their stalls. The registration process targeted all informal traders from clothing to fruit and vegetables, both new applicants and those who used to own stalls before the demolitions. Informal traders, who used to own stalls, were required to complete the lease agreement and those registering for the first time they were requested to complete an expressing interest application letter before signing the lease agreement.

VISET noted with concern, that Informal traders mostly from high density suburbs in Harare and other parts of the country are slowly back into the streets and road side to sell their wares, despite the preconditions presented by the Covid-19 level 2 lockdown banning informal business activities. Majority of these informal traders are operating from their private vehicle while tuck-shop owners and other small business with premises are operating using the backdoor strategy. It is alleged that the exodus of informal traders back to street is due to prolonged period without income and delay of cash cushion support from by government.

VISET notes with dismay the resumption of destruction by Harare city council of vendors markets, this time in the Tynwald and Madokero areas. It is indeed saddening that this inhuman exercise is being carried out when vendors are still counting their losses from lack of business occasioned by the Covid-19 lockdown. It is also against the backdrop of empty promises and confusion marring the disbursement of the much pronounced cushioning allowance. Vendors today in the affected areas of Tynwald and Madokero bemoaned the destruction and confiscation of their wares by the overzealous council officers. VISET appeals to the concerned authorities to prioritize development before destruction.

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