The Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) notes the introduction of a stiff lockdown by the Government as announced by the Health Minister Vice President CGDN Chiwenga.
We believe this move has been done in the interest of public health in light of the recent upsurge in COVID-19 deaths and positive cases. The measures, which include a 6 PM-6 AM curfew, as well as the closure of all non-essential services including the informal sector also entail the closure of the country’s borders.
The measures announced were a logical reaction to the crisis unfolding, and we commend the government for acting swiftly. What is however of concern to us as an informal sector representative organization is that there are no provisions for Social Protection for vulnerable groups of people such as our members in the informal sector.
Clearly, the government has not drawn lessons from the first lockdown where much as they announced existence of a cushioning fund, this did not benefit the majority of informal traders, with reports that influential politicians and civil servants were the bulk of recipients. In the few cases where informal traders received this allowance, its value had long been eroded by inflation.
As VISET it is our well-considered view that lockdown measures should be implemented along with increased spending on health services and remuneration for our long-suffering health personnel and the introduction of a robust Social Protection scheme that has inputs of all informal sector representative groups, as a matter of urgency.
To all citizens of Zimbabwe we urge all to take due care and implement World Health Organization (WHO) protocols on COVID-19; mask up, sanitize and social distance. As we have seen, this is a disease that does not discriminate.
Prepared by VISET Information and Publicity Department