Malawi Union For Informal Sector(MUFIS) Marches in Solidarity for International Street Vendors Day

Malawi Union for Informal Sector with its membership and partners joined their friends in the world for the first time celebrating International Street Vendors Day in style under the theme of street vendors are workers with the same right to organisation, representation and social protection as other workers. They marched a distance of one kilometer to present petition to Chief Executive Officer of the City Council of Blantyre while songs were sung louder and clear. The petition was presented to the council and after that the council arranged a place in the Mayor's Chamber where they could hear contains of the petition and it was read by president as follows:  

14th November, 2012

The Chief Executive Officer,
Civic Offices
Private Bag 67
Blantyre

Dear Sir,

PETITION TO LOCAL COUNCIL AUTHORITIES ON INTERNATIONAL STREET VENDORS DAY

We refer to the above subject matter. Malawi Union for Informal Sector with its membership and partners all over the world are celebrating the vendors’ day today which markers the 10th anniversary of StreetNet International for the first time. The theme of this year is street vendors are workers with the same right to organisation, representation and social protection as other workers. During this celebration we would like to request your good offices to look and address our issues as follows:

CONCERNS

  1. Lack of good markets and a lot of people sell their commodities under harsh conditions such as hot sun, rains and without benches.
  2. Lack of toilets, storage houses, dust bins, piped water, security and fence.
  3. Lack of consultation when the market fee is being adjusted upwards.
  4. Lack of nursery schools at markets where children could be put/in classes and learn while mothers/fathers are selling their commodities.
  5. Lack of market clinics, where pregnant women, anti natal could be administered and HIV/AIDS patients could get treatment
  6. Rivers passing through the markets are polluted and sticky for example Mudi passing through Blantyre market, Limbe passing through Limbe market

NEEDS AND DEMANDS

  1. Built more markets to accommodate all vendors
  2. Provide good water, storage, security, dust bins, toilets and wall fence
  3. Councils must stop confiscating goods from vendors
  4. Vendors must be consulted on all the issues affecting them through MUFIS
  5. Provide soft loans for empowerment through the banks, and provide banks at the markets for savings
  6. Provide social protection policy schemes to vendors / self - employed people
  7. Provide clinics and nursery schools at the markets.
  8. Amend the laws and bye laws so that they should much with current Republican constitution, democracy and trade systems.
  9. Provide accountable security to all markets so that if goods are stolen they should pay to vendors
  10. Our members should not be harassed when crossing the borders with their goods.

We estimated that the whole ceremony would take us 15 to 20 minutes but after hearing the contains of the petition the council officials were moved and it took two and half hours responding one by one and they agreed with our petition and promised that they will invite MUFIS to the meeting where all the items on the petition will be discuss item by item. But immediately that said that they will stop confiscating good from vendors, vendors will always be consulted through MUFIS structures, accepted that the bye laws should be amended, they will talk to banking institutions to provide loans for economic empowerment and clean the rivers passing through markets. Council official thought there could be violence during presentation. MUFIS thanked City Council officials for accepting to receive the petition and asked them to facilitate the meeting urgently. The positive responses by the council were more than expectation of MUFIS membership. The function was covered by more media especial radios because the function was widely covered by them

REPORT BY Mwanda Chiwambala
GENERAL SECRETARY  

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NewsBox, 2 - 15 March 2015

NewsBox

ZIMBABWE. First Lady`s Empathy On Vendors Misunderstood. All Africa (13 March 2015). She reminded the police officers that some of them had qualified to join the force because their mothers had sent them to school from the proceeds of street vending.

UK. Street traders` petition passes 5,000 mark. Essex County Standard (13 March 2015) by Andrea Collitt. The petition, seeking the right for the street traders to stay where they are, had 5,000 signatures by Wednesday.

SINGAPORE. Year-long SG50 festivities to highlight hawker food, local music. Channel News Asia (12 March 2015). The Minister for Culture, Community and Youth said it is important to celebrate Singapore`s heritage and culture, adding that the idea of a "distinctive Singaporean culture" is still relatively new and evolving.

MEXICO. Tacos are on credit as street vendors in Mexico use apps. The Globe and Mail (12 March 2015) by Patricia Laya. In Mexico city, known for its sprawling street markets, consumers are shunning cash and opting for credit cards they swipe on merchants` smartphones to pay for everything from shoes to tacos.

INDIA. Vendor goods being seized under anti-sabotage measures: HC told. Zee News (8 March 2015). An association for street vendors has alleged before Delhi High Court that goods of roadside sellers were being seized by police as part of its "anti- sabotage measures", which the organisation has dubbed as a "fresh modus operandi" to harass squatters.

INDIA. Asi Permission Awaited For Building Shops. NewsHub (7 March 2015). The Vellore Corporation is waiting for permission from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to go ahead with the construction of shops for street vendors on the old fish market premises on Anna Salai.

AFRICA. Why Africa`s Booming Cities Need More Autonomy in Urban Planning. City Lab (3 March 2015) Sam Sturgis.  According to the article, the bond was going to fund a new market hall, where street vendors could sell their goods in a more formal exchange.

StreetNet International

StreetNet International is an alliance of street vendors. It was launched in Durban, South Africa, in November 2002.

Membership-based organizations (unions, co-operatives or associations) directly organizing street vendors, market vendors and/or hawkers among their members, are entitled to affiliate to StreetNet International.

The aim of StreetNet is to promote the exchange of information and ideas on critical issues facing street vendors, market vendors and hawkers (i.e. mobile vendors) and on practical organizing and advocacy strategies