BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
THE call by the Local Government ministry to demolish vending stalls during last year’s COVID-19 lockdown following a government directive to move informal traders to new sites has left more than 30 000 families affected in the Midlands province.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Small to Medium Enterprises (ZCSME) Gweru chapter chairperson Tafadzwa Mazorodze said the affected vendors were registered with local authorities.
“The demolitions left 36 000 livelihoods affected across the province,” Mazorodze told Southern Eye Weekender yesterday.
“This figure is from market stalls registered with the local authorities. What this means is that a significant number of people source of income has been affected.”
He said the traders relied on selling their wares to buy food, pay rentals, bills and school fees for their children.
Mazorodze said the plight of the informal traders was worsened by the recurring lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
In the Midlands province, the ZCSME boss said the market stalls destruction affected 16 960 livelihoods from the 3 140 registered market stalls in Gweru urban.
He said local authorities in the province lost millions of dollars in revenue streams from rental fees they used to collect from the vending sites.
Mazorodze said in Gweru, his association had met with council officials to find ways of assisting the affected people.
He said the engagements with local authorities would be cascaded to all districts in the province.
Gweru mayor Josiah Makombe said his council would ensure registered informal traders got priority in the re-allocation of vending bays.
Last week, Makombe said the closure of the vendors’ markets had impacted on revenue collection by council, particularly during the lockdown period.
“Our revenue streams were greatly affected by COVID-19 and the closure of vending marts has seen a significant drop in fees collected,” he said.
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