Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) held a meeting, on Friday the 10th of September, in Bulawayo to officially present research findings of the CivActs community listening meetings that is run in conjunction with Accountability Lab Zimbabwe.
The findings were presented by the VISET Bulawayo Coordinator Mr Prosper Masibi, who revealed that many residents identified access to municipal services as being problematic for many, with over 67 percent of respondents saying they were selling from home or undesignated sites owing to what 40 percent say was a complicated process, and 25 percent saying there were no informal trading stalls available upon enquiry.
Over 52 percent said that there was functional ablution facilities at markets. 16 percent of respondents said that they have been asked to pay bribes in order to access trading spaces and 2 percent had been victims of sextortion. On vaccine access, 32 percent said they had not been aware of the Informal Traders vaccination programme, while 21 percent said they didn’t have time. Respondents said there was need for an aggressive awareness campaign on the efficacy of the vaccines on offer, so as to counter misinformation.
Responding to the research findings, Mr. Sithole of the Bulawayo City Council Town Planning Department said they always welcomed feedback to their services and expressed worry at the reports of sextortion and urged organizations such as VISET to assist in reporting such incidents to the authorities. With regards market space allocation process, Sithole said that as a Council they were urging traders to apply for trading licenses in residential areas as the City Centre was congested and they have been on a move to decentralise services in order to deal with crowding on pavements.
Sithole also said that they as a Council acknowledge the fact that the informal economy is THE economy and that they now seek partnership over adversity in how they relate with the sector. Sithole also promised to provide a detailed response to all other findings raised in the survey and thanked VISET profusely for the survey and the constructive engagement.
In conclusion, Edward Kapodogo of the Programmes Department said the CivActs programme was ongoing and they will continue to champion access to services for residents in an informed and cordial manner. He also thanked the Council for always a availing themselves at VISET programmes.