by Fungai Munetsi
Rusape is characterized by the following multitudes of operational challenges for workers and traders in the informal economy: vendors are facing a lot of arrests, harassment, confiscation of goods and not having their goods back even after paying fines, auctioning of vendors goods by Zimbabwe Republic Police using disposal order format and unwelcoming response for negotiations. There is no industry in Rusape and informal economy trading is the only means of survival for informal traders. According to ZCIEA members in Rusape, COVID-19 affected their livelihoods and have not recovered to this day and this the reason why Informal economy workers and traders seek attention of Parliamentary Portfolio Committees to assist in harmonizing this hostile environment they are operating under.
Following the assessment visits in various areas by Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises, Portfolio Committee on Local Government and Portfolio Committee on Indigenization and Empowerment on the challenges being faced by SME’s and Informal economy workers and traders and how they were affected by COVID-19 measures subsequent restriction and possible solutions; Rusape Territory petitioned the Parliament to do a special assessment visit in Rusape.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committees conducted consultations on SMEs and Informal economy in the following Cities and towns: Tsholotsho, Bulawayo, Masvingo, Gwanda, Zvishavane, Jerera, Shurugwi, Gweru, Kwekwe, Hauna, Nyanga, Juru Growth Point, Marondera, Bindura, Harare, Chinhoyi, and Kadoma. Assessment visits/ consultations were conducted from the 10th – 14th of May 2021. SMEs and Informal economy workers / traders in the above-mentioned territories shared lived realities and presented possible solution in the form of handwritten submissions to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committees. ZCIEA Rusape Territory felt that the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee should give Rusape chance to air their grievances and also to present workable and practical solutions. Currently issues raised by the SMEs and Informal economy workers and traders are under debate in Parliament.
A total of 949 (568 females, 381 males) Informal economy workers and traders signed a petition which will be submitted to the Parliament on the 28th of May 2021.