Mathew Masinge, H-Metro Reporter
The City of Harare intends to close big markets including Mbare
Musika and Mupedzanhamo this Saturday in a bid to curb COVID-19
They are engaging government on the matter.
Council with the help of police, yesterday, began directing vendors to
vacate undesignated workspaces in the Central Business District amid
With the risk that accompany Covid-19, City Fathers are taking no
chances but to decongest the city and minimise human contact which
is vital in stopping the spreading virus.
In a statement, the City of Harare health department said traders
would be expected to completely vacate the city centre by March 27.
“We advise that for those operating in designated areas such as
Markets and Home Industries, council is consulting with Central
Government for the closure of the same starting 28 March, 2020.
“Should the consultation succeed, traders in all markets must vacate
all markets and home industries by end of day on the 27th of March,”
reads part of the statement.
The health department has also called for corporation from members
of the informal sector.
“These measures are being taken in light of the Covid-19 virus which
is currently ravaging the whole world.
“Under normal circumstances council would have done consultative
meetings with members of the informal sector in line with our
engagement model with all stakeholders,” continued the statement.
Over the years there has been raging battles between municipal
police, the ZRP and vendors in trying to keep the Harare CBD as a
However, critics say any misstep handling the informal sector in
battling Covid-19 will aggravate poverty or lead to social unrest as
A host of African countries have also adopted such sweeping
measures in a bid to curb further spread of the Corona virus.
As of March 19, about 33 African countries had been hit with more
than 600 confirmed cases and 17 deaths.
More than 40 people have so far recovered from the virus.
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), it defines
informal employment as all remunerative work including self-
employment and wage employment that is not registered, regulated or
protected by existing legal or regulatory frameworks, as well as no
remunerative work undertaken in an income-producing enterprise.
Informal workers typically do not have secure employment contracts,
benefits, social protection or collective representation, according to
Those working in the informal economy are in the bottom or lower
middle-income segments of the population whose efforts have been
identified by the United Nations to transition out of the informal
The World Health Organisation has warned that COVID-19 can
spread fast in poor sanitation facilities where proliferation of informal
economy and urban crowding pose additional challenges in the efforts
to combat the highly infectious disease.