Beitbridge crafts MoU with municipality

Informal traders in Beitbridge town are on the verge of finalizing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the local authority to improve working conditions for informal traders in the restive border town.

Beitbridge informal traders groups have jointly submitted the proposed MoU which details the commitments of both parties to improve informal trade and facilitate revenue generation by the local authority.

The MoU was facilitated by the Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA). In an interview with The Vendors Voice, an informal trader from Beitbridge, Bose Khupe said the MoU will amplify their voices in raising their concerns and service delivery issues.

“Our engagements with Beitbridge Town Council so far have been fruitful. We have seen tremendous improvement and willingness to improve the informal sector business in this town.”

“The MoU helps us to combine our efforts as vendors, so that when we have grievances we come as one, with one voice, a joint effort is likely to be taken seriously by our local municipality,” said Khupe.

He said before the MoU, the vendors did not appreciate the importance of licenses, there was not much difference between a spot fine and the monthly dues.

“Vendors never really saw a constructive dialogue going on between us and the council, it was just us against “them”. Formalising operations seemed to be tedious and expensive and complicated; we didn’t know that we could participate in the town budget meetings; we didn’t know our rights as to our informal activities,” he said.

Khupe added that the MoU is going to help vendors and other stakeholders become aware of their rights within their scope of operation.

“It also helps us to understand our responsibilities towards our environment and towards our customers. It also serves to inform of any future engagements or decisions we are going to make towards a better foreseeable future and perhaps of note we have seen informal traders and local municipality engagements,” he said.

He also said the vendors have had capacity-building workshops meant to equip vendors with different skills.

“Just recently we had two engagements with the local authority. One was one hosted by BVTA , where we discussed the MoU and the constitution. We then held another one with Beitbridge Cross Border Association where we also discussed the MoU. The organizations are trying to lobby for the informal trader exemption and privileges as the borders are about to open,” said Khupe.

The signing of an MoU will enable vendors to conduct their businesses following public health and safety measures. The Town Council also is set to reap the benefits from revenue collection.

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