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.

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

 

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.