By Mbekezeli Ncube
THE Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) has appealed to the government to assist them in accessing cushion allowances for them to survive through the current lockdown Level IV.
Two weeks ago Vice President and Health Minister Constantino Chiwenga announced the reintroduction of lockdown Level IV as new Covid-19 cases surged.
Informal traders were ordered not to operate during the 30-day lockdown period, a situation which has had a serious impact on the welfare of the vendors and their families.
In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, the BVTA director, Michael Ndiweni said vendors had spent all their savings during the festive season unaware the government would reintroduce the Covid-19 restrictions.
“We are, therefore, calling on the government to immediately provide us with cushioning funds because the situation is dire in the homes of our members. People are not working, it has been over a week now and most of them have expended the funds which they had saved during the festive season,” he said.
“So the government must urgently come up with mechanisms to cushion the informal traders. We sent them a data base and they sent the initial money last year in September and they can easily disperse other funds now because people are now starving.”
A majority of Zimbabweans are unemployed and depend on informal jobs for survival.
Ndiweni also urged the government to revise its decision of closing the door on informal traders saying it would result in the rise of criminal activities in poor communities.
“We still emphasise that the government must reconsider the decision of banning markets. At least they should open and create conditions. People are really struggling because it’s mid-month and they are failing to support their families.
“Some of them might end up stealing and robbing people of their valuables and lives might be lost during the process,” said Ndiweni.