BVTA learns informal sector best practices from Asiye eTafuleni in Durban, South Africa

Bulawayo Vendors Traders Association embarked on a learning visit to Durban, South Africa that sought to understand how the Asiye eTafuleni informal sector organisation influenced the eThekwini Municipality to rescind from its decision to move Warwick Junction Market and assimilate best practices on inclusive city planning and design. The market is a thriving informal market hub in Durban’s inner city. The visit also helped to inform the ongoing BVTA Research and Advocacy project that seeks to provide thought leadership, addressing informal sector policy knowledge gaps and promoting inclusive city design and planning.
The learning visit unraveled how the organisation led to resistance actions against closure of the Warwick Junction Market. The organisation embedded its strategies on; dialogue with the eThekwini Municipality and use of the legal framework and building the urgency of informal workers to resist the relocation efforts.
BVTA used this platform to harness opportunities provided by the twinning agreement between the City of Bulawayo and City of Durban through the EThekwini Municipality that administers the city in South Africa. BVTA believes that the cooperation between the two organisations will help address some of the informal sector socio – economic challenges faced by the two cities.
BVTA`s entourage was comprised of Michael Ndiweni and Debra Mukasa who met Asiye Etafuleni and a team of researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MiT), who have a working partnership with the Asiye eTafuleni informal sector organisation. The parties exchanged ideas on how to harness their experiences, collaborate and support BVTA research project. The BVTA team also had conversations with Dr Trynos Gumbo a researcher at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, who is providing technical support to the Advocacy and Research project.
Key lessons that captivated BVTA from Asiye eTafuleni programming were: the ability of the organisation to document its work, the capacity to model infrastructure, offering training for vendors and allowing informal traders to conduct their own research.
Areas of collaboration between (MiT), Asiye eTafuleni and BVTA were drawn, and these consisted of city planning and infrastructure modeling, education and rights, waste management and developing urban vendors literacy. The visit provided mutual benefits to the two organisations as they pursued plans for Trans-frontier initiatives to address common fundamental challenges faced by vendors and informal workers in the two countries. BVTA greatly benefited from this trip as Asiye eTafuleni shared their insights on informal sector business and gave ideas through sharing their experiences and strengths.

Vendors demand arrest of money changers

https://www.newsday.co.zw/2017/05/02/vendors-demand-arrest-money-changers/

BULAWAYO Vendors and Traders’ Association (BVTA) has rapped the
government and local authorities for clamping down on its members,
while illegal cash dealers are left to operate freely on street
corners.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI – NewsDay Newspaper, Zimbabwe

In a statement to mark commemorations of International Workers’ Day
yesterday, BVTA said it was shocked by the selective application of
the law, where vendors are brutally raided, while money changers on
street corners are left untouched.

“We call upon the local authority to treat all citizens in an equal
manner and respect their rights as enshrined in the Constitution of
Zimbabwe,” the association said.

The group said it stood in solidarity with thousands of unemployed
Zimbabweans, who have resorted to vending as the only source of
livelihood under the country’s prevailing difficult economic
environment.

“We are still aggrieved that the informal sector is besieged with many
challenges ie lack of clear government policies on social security,
lack of medical healthcare schemes, but it is the biggest employer
with over 5 million Zimbabweans,” part of the statement read.

“We are deeply concerned that at local level informal workers are
facing a glaring criminalisation of their sector, municipal law
enforcement agents are unleashed to conduct violent raids that have
maimed vendors and left trails of destruction. Their goods continue to
be confiscated and disappear on their way to storage facilities.”

BVTA demanded clarity on the meaning of the formalisation of the
informal sector when informal workers were made to go through a
rigorous police vetting process and completion of registration forms
in application for vending licences at municipal offices, but some
sectors of the society still argue vendors are not formalised.

“We hope this year’s Workers Day commemorations provided an
opportunity for the government to pause and reflect on the informal
sector and provide decent working conditions for informal workers in
order to achieve an inclusive economy,” it said.

The group said government should put interest of informal workers
first and adopt practical steps towards creating conducive conditions
for the informal sector to thrive in line with provisions on economic
and social rights in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe yesterday joined the rest of the world in commemorating Workers’ Day.

BVTA Press Statement on Workers Day Commemorations on May 1 2017

 

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) joins the entire global community to commemorate International Workers Day. BVTA today stands in solidarity with thousands of unemployed Zimbabweans who have resorted to vending and trading as the only source of livelihood under the country’s prevailing difficult economic environment.

BVTA implores the government to put the interests of informal workers first and adopt practical steps towards creating conducive conditions for the informal sector to thrive in line with provisions on Economic and Social Rights in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

We are still aggrieved that the informal sector is besieged with many challenges i.e. lack of clear government policies on social security, lack of medical health care schemes but it is the biggest employer with over 5 million Zimbabweans.

We are deeply concerned that at local level informal workers are facing a glaring criminalization of their sector, municipal law enforcement agents are unleashed to conduct violent raids that have maimed vendors and left trails of destruction. Vendors’ goods continue to be confiscated and disappear on their way to storage facilities.

BVTA is shocked by the selective application of the law where vendors are brutally raided and while street money changers in street corners are left untouched. We call upon the local authority to treat all citizens in an equal manner and respect their equal rights as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

BVTA demands clarity on the meaning of the formalization of the informal sector when informal workers are made to go through a rigorous police vetting process and completion of registration forms in application for vending licenses at municipal offices but some sectors of the society still argue vendors are not formalized.

We hope this years’ Workers Day commemoration will provide an opportunity for the government to pause and reflect on the informal sector and provide decent working conditions for informal workers in order to achieve an inclusive economy.

The struggle for rights of vendors continues in Bulawayo

On 27 September 2016 was a special day for us and Wild Trust Zimbabwe to face off with the City of Bulawayo and find mutual beneficial ways to address challenges faced by vendors and informal traders especially women and girls at Presbytarian City Church.

The meeting came at a time when sour relations were escalating between City of Bulawayo and vendors due to their violent raids that have been recorded in the past few weeks resulting in some vendors sustaining serious injuries. Vendors and informal traders especially women face harassment on a daily basis. We believe that this kind of dialogue will help curtail cases of human rights violations recorded in the sector daily. Partners such Nango Western Region, NAVUZ, Uhlelo LweZakhamizi (BPRA), SWITA and ZCIEA supported us.

Mr Elliot Panesu from BCC engineering department responding to questions and also speaking on behalf of other four BCC officials present pledged the City of Bulawayo preparedness to always engage with vendors if there are grievances.

(1) BCC pledged to investigate cases of abuse women and girls especially at Egodini Terminus where they are deprived of water by unscrupulous men who are now selling water from a public tap.
(2) BCC pledged to partner with Bulawayo Vendors Trust and Wild Trust Zimbabwe and conduct joint outreach meetings on City of Bulawayo Bylaws
(3) BCC committed desire to allocate more vending bays to vendors associations.
(4) BCC pledged to conduct periodic meetings with vendors associations.
(5) Address cleanliness in public toilets to address special needs of women and girls.
(6) BCC also committed to attend to individual grievances arising from vendors who felt their issues have not been dealt with adequately by some City of Bulawayo officials.

We pay our gratitude to Wild Trust Zimbabwe for choosing to collaborate with us in this important meeting.

Did you know that 17% of cases of human rights violations recorded in the first quarter of 2016 were against vendors?

Did you know that women and girls vendors buy water from unscrupulous individuals to wash hands after using toilets at Egodini vending area?

BVTA condemns actions of BCC police in injuring a vending minor and victimisation of the mother in Bulawayo Issued by

 

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA)

BVTA strongly condemns actions and the heavy handedness of the Bulawayo Municipal Police that led to a 15 year old minor suffering a broken arm during their violent raids on vendors whose only crime was selling eggs to raise funds for schools fees on Friday 19 August 2016 and subsequent seemingly counter accusation of the mother for assaulting a female municipal two weeks after.

We categorically state that this kind of behaviour is a violation of people rights and inhumane treatment that has no place in the modern society.

BVTA would like to unequivocally remind the Bulawayo City Council authorities of Section 53 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe that says; no person may be subjected to physical or psychological torture or to cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and the same vein to remind them of the rights of arrested persons.   BVTA further posits that the actions of the municipal police are in violation of Section 19 subsection (2c) of the Constitution that states that the child must be protected from maltreatment, neglect or any form of abuse.

BVTA also notes that BCC municipal police violated the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child.  When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children. It also further violated Article 19 that says that children have a right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, in body or mind.

BVTA calls upon the Bulawayo City Council to investigate the violent conduct of their municipal police officers and prosecute all those who have taken law unto themselves to injure and maim vendors who are involved in genuine means to earn a living.

We are also aggrieved by unwarranted seizure and confiscation of vendors and informal traders’ goods and generic brutalizing and harassment of informal traders and vendors especially defenseless women and girls.

We also abhor the subsequent arrest of the mother in spurious charges of assaulting a BCC female police detail two weeks after the injury meted on her daughter.

BVTA believes that dialogue between BCC and vendors and informal traders is a sure way to find alternative means to address the problems faced by vendors in the city.

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA), is a membership organisation that represents the vendors and informal traders by engaging in policy research and advocacy to ensure that the rights and interests of vendors and informal traders are promoted and facilitated.

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) can be contacted on:

Office 406 Fidelity Life Building,

Fife Street & 11th Avenue

BULAWAYO

Mobile Phone : +2638644210108

Email: bulawayovendors @gmail.com

 

Bulawayo Vendors Group In Attempts To Capacitate Members

http://www.radiovop.com/index.php/national-news/14429-bulawayo-vendors-group-in-attempts-to-capacitate-members.html

By Dumisani Nyoni

Bulawayo, August 25, 2016 – DUE to the country’s protracted economic crisis, the city of Bulawayo has, in recent years, lost its industrial hub status to become a teeming vending district.

However, despite keeping the proverbial wolf from the door for much of the time, street vendors are still confronted by their own challenges, not least among them lack of ablution facilities, lack of proper vending structures and no law to govern their operations.

Female vendors particularly, feel the heat when it comes to the use of ablution facilities.

RadioVOP this week caught up with Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association programs coordinator, Michael Ndiweni, who spoke about their challenges and the new measures they have placed to ameliorate them.

“There are no toilets; As such, women going through menstruation cycles find it difficult to survive. Some would want to change their pads but cannot because of lack supporting facilities,” Ndiweni said.

He also said there are no policies protecting vendors.

On top of their troubles, Ndiweni said, income obtained through the trade is ever dwindling as individual vendors always face competition from the ever ballooning number of vendors trying to make a living.

Because of this, he added, their source of “employment” shall ever remain  insecure.

“Their incomes are often minimal and their sales fluctuate,” he said.

It is crucial for policymakers to acknowledge and address these challenges, Ndiweni said.

He said as an organisation championing the rights of vendors, they have launched a self-funded training programme to sensitise members on their constitutional rights and guard against abuse by municipal police.

He said the training was in response to the continued confiscation of their wares coupled with the inhumane treatment they received from municipal police officers.

Recently, four municipal police were left hospitalised after they were assaulted by angry vendors, who were protesting against the confiscation of their goods.

Ndiweni said vendors have constitutional rights, which must be respected, hence, the training exercise to sensitise them on their rights.

“Our organisation has noted that the rights of vendors and informal traders are frequently violated by municipal police in city of Bulawayo and, hence, their rights must be protected and promoted,” he said.

He said they have also observed that a proportionate number of vendors were not aware of their rights or the means to seek recourse when their rights were violated.

“We then call for measures that will empower vendors to speak up for their rights,” he said.

Ndiweni said they were seeking to reach all vendors doted around Bulawayo’s 29 municipal wards.

By supporting street vendors, Ndiweni said cities could foster equitable development and improve the livelihood of society’s most vulnerable populations.

BVTA inspires 197 vendors with leadership skills in Bulawayo

By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) has successfully executed Leadership and Advocacy Trainings in Bulawayo’ 29 wards targeting its Wards Committee structures, poised to inspire vendors and informal traders to have better lives.

The objects of the trainings were to enhance the leadership and public policy advocacy capabilities of its ward structures. One hundred and ninety seven (197) members of the Ward Structures were trained. BVTA carried out trainings after noting that most those occupying positions lacked adequate leadership and advocacy skills that hinder their effectiveness in mobilizing and providing leadership at local level. This is part of BVTA`s broad strategy as enshrined in their 2016 – 2018 Strategic Plan to build capacity of vendors to be able function and have better lives.

The scope of the trainings focused on BVTA Constitution and reminded the structures on their leadership constitutional obligations, their term of office as well as functions and roles played by BVTA Executive Committee.

Essentially the trainings acquainted members of Ward Structures about key aspects in leadership. The trainings emphasized that leadership is about motivation, inspiring people to aspire and make positive contributions in communities and changing their lives. Ward structures were sharpened with knowledge on qualities of good leaders for example that good leaders have a vision for the future, have strength of personality, the will power of a never say die attitude.
The Ward structures were made aware that good leadership is not about use of coercive means, force, and abuse of authority, abuse of power or use of threats to get the work done.

The course handed BVTA Ward leaders with a tools box of leadership skills that is envisaged to assist in leading membership within communities. It emphasized that leadership skills are tools, behaviors and capabilities that a person needs in order to be at motivating and directing others. The skills were portrayed as characters of professions such as the behavior of a Captain who directs the sail, who delegates duties, gardener someone who cultivates trusts and makes members of the group feel the sense of belonging and ownership of the group or organization. Furthermore, a diplomat someone who is able to solve conflicts that are inevitable in groups, the talk show host someone who is an effective communicator and who masters nonverbal communication among other skills.

The training course was complemented by imparting vendors with lobby and advocacy skills that will enable vendors and informal traders to organize themselves and speak against to find solutions that affect them in their day to day lives. The course has already to motivated vendors to organize themselves and speak in one voice in order to improve their conditions especially the constant violation of rights and abuse from law enforcement agents. An increase of vendors visiting the organizational offices to join the association has been recorded.

One woman vendor from Ward 7 confessed how the training has helped her to change the way she thinks and  conducted her business “I have been stuck in my vending bay for the rest of my life to the point that I had quit attending church services, these trainings have made me to gain useful information to do other things, I have learnt that I can delegate someone to remain manning my vending bay whilst I attend to other issues in the community and seeking other opportunities that may arise in the informal sector”

The trainings envisages to improve coordination of activities of vendors and informal traders at ward level. This form of decentralization will make the organisation more accessible and be able to promptly respond to the needs of vendors across the city.