THE National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (NAVUZ) has called on its members and all vendors to voluntarily vacate the streets in a bid to minimise the spread of Cholera which has already claimed close to 30 lives and infected 3 700 others.
By Michael Gwarisa
The developments follows an ambitious City decongestion initiative the NAVUZ has embarked on in partnership with the City of Harare, NetOne, TelOne, POSB and National Building Society (NBS) which will see the city being decongested within 90 days through the setting up of company consortiums in different sectors of the informal sector which will get business tenders from both government and the private sector.
Briefing Journalists this morning, NAVUZ board chair, Stanley Zvorwadza said council and authorities should desist from being confrontational in driving vendors off the streets as it has been proven to be a failed method.
“We are calling on our members and all vendors operating in the streets to voluntarily leave the streets so that we deal with the prevailing Cholera outbreak. Driving vendors by force or being confrontational has failed, it is a failed method of dealing with the crisis at hand and we believe every responsible Zimbabwean should play a part.
“It is unfortunate that some sections of the political sphere might want to seek political relevance at this cholera and vendor issue. This is not the time for political grandstanding, we need to deal with Cholera. So we are saying to the vendors, they can temporarily vacate the streets while we are working on a permanent long term solution to empower them so that we decongest the streets,” said Zvorwadza.
He added that they have a grand plan to decongest the city in the next 90 days through formalising the informal sector in the form of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and friendly identification, location and registration of informal sector initiatives national wide where NBS which will be the custodian of register while other partners provide technical assistance.
“NAVUS has partnered with state institutions with a view to support and strengthen their (vendors) capacity as well as uplifting its membership so defined by the standing register.
“The partners include but not limited to POSB, TelOne, NetOne, NBS, City of Harare. The partnership’s key objective and deliverable is to support informal trading decongestion initiatives.”
Under the partnership, the NAVUZ has already secured hundreds millions of dollars through the NBS which will towards financing their initiatives and the project will not be a burden to the fiscus.
Meanwhile, City of Harare, Corporate Communications manager, Michael Chideme said confrontation between municipal police and vendors should be a thing of the past as they are now operating on the same wavelength with vendors.
“On the issue of Cholera and our short term plan on vendors, let me say our plans do not supersede that of government.
“As City of Harare, we are happy to partner NAVUZ on this initiative to decongest the Central Business District (CBD). We are not even saying vendors spread Cholera, we don’t have a problem with vending no, we only have a problem with vending on the streets pavements,” said Chideme.