Vendors have expressed concern over the lack of livelihood interventions by the government following President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s extension of national lockdown by an indefinite period.
In a statement, the Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) said whilst all actions to curb the spread of the virus, it was disturbing that there are no safety interventions.
“We at the Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) note the announcement by the President Mr. E.D. Mnangagwa of an indefinite lockdown extension subject to fortnightly reviews. There can be no downplaying of the severe casualties wrought by this deadly pandemic and all actions must be taken to curb its spread.
“It is however disturbing that from yesterday’s announcement and indeed from previous proclamations, what is absent are the practical interventions of safety nets for all those whose livelihoods are affected. It is a matter of fact that even before the advent of this deadly disease, hunger was already stalking many households and hence it is government’s duty to urgently attend to this issue,” read the statement.
The vendor association said the economic situation has seen an increase in number of people succumbing to chronic illness.
“We hear of many deaths being attributed to stress and high blood pressure, due to the economic situation. It is our prayer that the much touted cushioning allowance moves from ministerial announcements into people’s bank accounts whilst they are still of some value.”
“What is of further concern to VISET is that there would appear to be a deliberate attempt at eliminating the informal sector and vendors in particular through the lockdown measures. Whilst almost all sectors of the economy have opened up without much restrictions, the informal sector in yesterday’s (Saturday) announcement was said to begin a phased reopening.
“Considering the number of our membership and indeed those reliant on vending in general, there is no specific mention of when we can safely begin the reconstruction of our livelihoods” said VISET
The vendors urged the authorities to look into the issue with the urgency it requires saying of further concern is the indefinite extension further impacts upon the construction and completion of new vending sites as we fear this may be used as an excuse to keep vendors from plying their trade and providing for their families.