07 July, 2021
As Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA), we welcome and applaud the government’s initiative of prioritising vendors and informal traders on COVID-19 vaccine blitz that commenced on 06 July 2021 and is expected to end in 10 days according to a notice from government.
BVTA has been advocating for the accessibility and availability of the vaccine to market places and people living in the high density areas and recognising informal traders as essential service providers in our economy.
Informal traders showed determination to get the vaccine as they turned up in large numbers at the vaccination centres in the city. However, we recorded some setbacks which included vaccination requirements e.g valid vending license. Some informal traders were turned away as they were not in possession of vending licenses. Some are employees in market places and licenses do not show their names and some informal traders are renting in privately owned markets where the owner of the market has sole responsibility to operate in the market and tenants simple pay rentals.
We managed to bring to the attention of the authorities who acted swiftly to include the corrective action in their latest public notice where such markets are advised to use registers for market occupants. We were also concerned about the delay in commencing the vaccination process in some centres, as some traders had woke up very early to get vaccinated and return to their market places to work since trading hours have also been reduced due to the lockdown induced curfew.
We implore government and its various agencies to scale up public awareness on the vaccine process in order to debunk fake information circulating in the public domain and reduce instances of misinformation. We commit to engage and complementing efforts, to raise awareness on measures to contain the spread of the virus and to encourage more of our members to get vaccinated.
According to a notice published by Bulawayo City Council (BCC), vaccination centres are Large City hall, Nkulumane Hall, Lobengula Street/3rd Avenue, Renkini, Emganwini and ENtumbane complex, Nketa 6, 8, 9, Nkulumane complex/ Kelvin Industries, Cowdray Park terminus, Cowdray Park Sign Post, Cowdray Park – Caravan, Spampurekini- Mpopoma, Mpopoma Clinic, Lobengula Private Mall, Ngozi Mine, Stanely hall, Bradfield, Bellevue, Mahatshula, Leeside, Morningside and Hillside shopping centre.
The Cabinet announcement on employers writing exemption letters for their employees is not clear on whether informal traders are supposed to use licences or association membership cards as proof for self-employment, as compared to formal employees whom their employers will issue them with letters. Our considered view is that the announcement is vague, it seems discriminatory and is likely to cause confusion if not clarified as soon as possible.
Issued by BVTA Information and Publicity Unit
Contact details: Fourth floor, Suite 406, Fidelity Life Building Fife street and 11th Avenue Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: Bulawayo Vendors Trust/ Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association Twitter: @bvtatrust Website: www.bvtatrust.org Phone: +263 713 635 908