The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has expressed concern over the recently instituted demolition of illegal structures by some local authorities.
Informal traders in Harare and Chitungwiza most of whom eke a living through vending had their vending demolished by council over the past two weeks.
In a statement, ZCTU secretary general Japhet Moyo said the resultant demolitions was a result of mismanagement of the economy.
“The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) is greatly disturbed by the continuing demolition and destruction of informal businesses which has affected a huge number of desperate Zimbabweans. The demolition of the so called illegal structures continues unabated without any slight consideration of the consequences on the affected people, especially women and children.
“By its mismanagement of the economy in pursuit of political ends, the Government has created mass unemployment. As formal sector unemployment has risen, more and more people had to move into the informal trading sector to earn some sort of livelihood,” said Moyo.
With COVID-19 wreaking havoc, Moyo said the Government had been demolishing structures without providing solutions.
“Previously the Government encouraged the growth of the informal sector and allowed informal traders and vendors to carry out their activities. The authorities largely turned a blind eye to vendors and traders operating in violation of bylaws. The destruction of structures that house thousands of vendors is being done without providing any alternative.
“While covid-19 has caused great suffering among Zimbabweans, the government of Zimbabwe is rubbing salt on the wounds through destruction of their only means of survival. Why they do this in the midst of Covid-9 and winter is a mystery. It borders on sadistic mannerism.
“The wrecking of the informal economy sector will have serious detrimental economic effects at a time the economy is already in a parlous state. Apart from drastically increasing unemployment, the campaign will have a detrimental knock-on effect upon the formal economy,” said Moyo.
He added “The City Councils, various Government Ministers, and Government officials have advanced a whole miscellany of reasons for this operation. In general, the official explanations have been confusing, and occasionally at variance with each other.
“The timing and magnitude of the ‘clean-up’ operation has led to much speculation as to whether there are in actuality other reasons than those officially proclaimed.”