Bulawayo vendors and traders have raised concerns to Market Bailiffs on the continuous allegations of the infamous demand of bribes by Municipal police in marketplaces.
Market Bailiffs who monitor COVID-19 compliance in food and agricultural markets in Bulawayo, under the Sizimele Consortium funded by Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) in the Market Aggregation COVID-19 Vendors Response – Market Access project, have received reports from vendors and informal traders, that municipal police have been demanding bribes from vendors who sell at undesignated places and without licenses in order to continue with their activities.
The high risk of spreading COVID-19 has been exacerbated by municipal police who solicit for bribes to allow traders to operate at undesignated places without sanitisers nor hand washing water dispensers and not observing physical distancing. This has continued to undermine COVID-19 preventive efforts made at organized markets.
Ever since the COVID-19 induced lockdown started earlier this year, vendors and informal traders have been struggling to make ends meet. Trading activities were banned, however, some vendors resorted to going back to the streets in order to be able to fend for their families.
Vendors who sell at Total Service Station in Mpopoma have been maintaining their marketplace through paying bribes to municipal police, Madade Ndlovu, a Market Bailiff told the Special Edition Vendors Voice. “We urge the local authorities to take action against the corrupt officials and we implore vendors and informal traders to obtain vending licenses so that they are allocated designated vending spaces,” said Bakani Ncube who coordinates Market Bailiffs activities in the consortium. By the month of November, according to the Ministry of Health and Childcare (2020), Bulawayo recorded 2306 cases, 80 deaths and 1765 recoveries. As at 13 December, 2020, Bulawayo has recorded 2836 cases, 85 deaths and 2220 recoveries. Sizimele continues to urge vendors and informal traders to follow the COVID-19 protocols with caution as the number of cases is constantly on the rise.
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