National Vendors Union Zimbabwe (NAVUZ) Board Chairperson Sten Zvorwadza has revealed an initiative by the informal sector to decongest the Central Business Districts (CBD) around the country at a press briefing in Harare today.
The initiative, that Zvorwadza shared to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the government this year, comes after violent clashes between the authorities and the informal sector as the police in a bid to move the vendors out of the Harare CBD.
“The strategy is rooted in persuasion and participatory methodology in solving the vending crisis prevalent in most urban areas,” NAVUZ says in a concept brief.
“The fulcrum of the strategy is participation of the informal traders in the mainstream economy, where informal traders will be accorded an opportunity to participate in the formal tender system for national projects as well as supply of goods and services in the public and private sector to include, leisure and hospitality industry, supermarkets and other big business entities.”
Chairperson of the vendors union said the financial sector will be assisting with funds for the tenders in the decongestion initiate.
“This approach will see informal traders leaving the streets voluntarily without any use of force,” the concept brief reads.
“The current tender system is dominated by companies and individuals on the basis of winner take all,”
“If a portion of these tenders is given to informal traders, they will go a long way in addressing the congested urban areas since the majority of the informal traders have better economic engagement alternatives than vending,” NAVUZ says.
Zvorwadza also said that within nine months towns will be clean and 100 days to decongest town if the initiative, which is also a decongestion strategy is implemented.
NAVUS says, “It is fact that one day all informal traders will sure want to graduate into formal secure business engagements. Therefore, they do not consider the streets as their permanent places of work.
“As soon as the right opportunity to leave the street is availed, the informal traders will not stay in the street, a minute longer.”
“Given the necessary support 100 days are enough to see movement in the positive direction of decongestion and it is hoped this will permanently eradicate the incessant threat of medieval plagues like cholera and typhoid.”
Government efforts to remove vendors from the CBD have failed according to Zvorwadza.
“Previous attempts to solve the informal trading in the streets without involving the informal traders most of which always turned violent have not yielded desired results and the informal trading has increased drastically,” NAVUS briefed. “This is a fact and on record. It does not pay to keep repeating the same methodology and hope to get a different result.”