Daily Update 21 May 2020

At Beitbridge border post, it has been reported that Zimbabwe Immigration Authorities were confiscating goods mostly food stuffs sent by Zimbabwean living in South Africa to their relatives through cross boarder trucks transporting basic essentials goods to Zimbabwe. The relatives of those in diaspora have been receiving help and aid through these channels since our government have failed to fulfil and deliver its promises to support its citizens as it announced at the start of the long streak and extension of the national lockdown. VISET notes with concern this sad development as it is happening in the middle of severe suffering posed by the lockdown restriction which has banned the informal sector actors from operating.

VISET has been receiving worrying report from SOCHAMPs across the country of informal traders mourning over hunger and starvation as their source of livelihood remained barred by COVID 19 indefinite lockdown measures recent announcement by the President. VISET therefore call upon the government to fulfil and expedite its promises to support the vulnerable citizen especially vendors as they are now on the losing end.

Another note of concern is the lack of reliable transport to cater for informal traders especially for fruit and vegetable vendors operating from markets which were partially opened. The same challenge is also affecting those working in the formal sector with operations deemed essential service recently during Level 2 lockdown, as they are seen stranded and crowded waiting for transport disregarding social distance guidelines. This comes after the government only allowed the unreliable ZUPCO to transport people to and from work, which have however failed to sustain the demand of commuters.

In Masvingo, 20 May 2020 it has been reported that the ruling party has been selectively calling and distributing Cash Cushion aid to those known to be loyal to party via NetOne Mobile Money platform. It has been alleged that Masvingo residence are concerned with prolonged delay of government cash cushions and there are growing suspicions of lack of transparency issues regarding the promised cushion funds meant for the vulnerable.

In Gweru, while registration of informal traders is still in progress, there are concerns regarding the pace by which the City of Gweru is taking to reconstruct the designated vending stalls for the vendors affected by demolitions. It is being alleged that the City of Gweru have only graded the ground and there is no sign of progress towards building physical structures at the moment. Most informal traders’ especially vegetable vendors in high density suburbs are now selling door to door and in town there are no informal trading activities due to heavy Zimbabwe Republic Police and soldiers’ presence.

Source: Vendors Initiative for Social Transformation (VISET)

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