Vendors representative associations are concerned about the delays in the payments of the cushioning grants that were supposed to cushion them and informal traders following the COVID-19 lockdown and government-sanctioned demolitions of their working spaces.

As a result, they are calling upon government through its relevant ministries to provide information on progress made so far.

“We also call on government through its relevant ministries to immediately release the cushioning fund as the situation is dire for many vendors and informal traders. We also call on the government to state the proposed figures that will be disbursed. Press releases have stated that the expected amount is ZWL$200, we would like to state that the proposed figure is very paltry considering the prevailing prices of basic commodities.

“We would like to remind Government that our members are suffering from hunger in their houses and the truth is that there is no food in their houses, our members living with chronic diseases are at greater risk at this moment. Vendors and informal traders are aware of the dangers posed by COVID19 and we are willing and ready to honour the directive to stay at home during this difficult time as a nation of Zimbabwe and the entire world at large but hunger is now another big disaster in households,” the vendors representative organisations said in a joint statement. 

They said they are now receiving cases of domestic violence because families are beginning to have fights due to shortages of food. The organisations reminded the government that most of their members will not be able to restock because all their little incomes have been depleted on food.   

“We also strongly condemn the demolition and razing down of vendors and informal traders working spaces, without coming up with clear alternative designated trading spaces. In the same vein, the government and local authorities must consult/involve the informal sector representatives in decision making before they make resolutions that affect the livelihood of informal sector players since now 85% of the nation is in the informal sector.

“We also call for an immediate stop to the demolitions across the country. For example, in Gweru people were given till today (Sunday) to clear their stalls since tomorrow’s demolitions will start. We hope the government will urgently pay attention to the issues that we have raised in this statement.”

The statement was jointly endorsed by Vendors Initiative for Social Economic Transformation (VISET); Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA); National Vendors Union Zimbabwe (NAVUZ); Women Alliance of Business Associations in Zimbabwe (WABZ); Zimbabwe Applied Arts in Craft Association (ZAACA); Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA); Zimbabwe Cross Border Traders Association (ZCBTA); Zimbabwe Informal Traders Council (ZITC)9; Zimbabwe Progressive Airtime Vendors Association (ZPAVA); Small Medium Enterprises Association of Zimbabwe (SMEAZ); 100% Empowerment Trust; Chipinge Chamber of SMEs; Combined Cross Border (CCB) and the Zimbabwe Vendors Association (ZVA).