Don’t destroy informal sector structures – CCJPZ

CCJPZ Chairperson Bishop Rudolf Nyandoro.
Morris Bishi
Masvingo – The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe (CCJPZ) has urged city councils throughout the country to stop destroying vending stalls for informal traders as this will leave thousands of poor people without a source of income.
CCJPZ instead called upon Government and local authorities to focus on speedy measures to help the people recover economically during and after the lockdown.
The Commission said this in a statement in which it made an extensive review of the Government and the nation’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the statement released last Friday, CCJPZ said it is in total support of the lockdown which is aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19. However, CCJPZ picked numerous critical shortfalls which it urged Government and stakeholders to address.
The statement said that the Government’s decision to destroy market stalls for vendors without prior warning or giving them alternatives will increase poverty for the poor. It said that instead of destroying the stalls, Government must actually be assisting the vulnerable groups of society.
The statement also noted the fact that the Zimbabwe economy is largely informal and descending heavily on vendors will affect many people.
In addition CCJPZ also called upon Government to come together with the private sector and ensure that reasonable workers’ salaries are paid.
The impact of the unplanned situation caused by the pandemic would be dire on the poor, said CCJPZ.
“In an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19, City councils embarked on clean-up campaigns by forbidding people from selling their field produce, disinfecting cities and also destroying the informal market stalls in most cities.
“It is of importance, that the City Council stops the destruction of the informal sector, and focus on a speedy measure to help the people recover economically during and after the lockdown. We also urge the government to help employers to pay their employees a just wage during the lockdown period and after,” said the statement.
The Commission said that social distance rules were being compromised because of shortages of commodities that force people to queue for basic items. It urged people to observe social distancing and condemned revellers for being culprits in this area.
The Commission called on Government to provide protective clothing to health workers as the absence of these is not only compromising them but members of their families as well.
Treatment of patients with non-Covid related illnesses is also being neglected because health workers are reluctant to attend to patients without protective clothing.
The Commission condemned the rampant water shortages in towns as abating the spread of the virus as large groups of people gather at boreholes and other sources of water.
Prices of basic commodities are skyrocketing during the pandemic thereby worsening the plight of the poor, said CCJPZ.

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