“There are lots of waste pickers crying out loud for empowerment” – Bulawayo Mayor

In an appreciated and greatly welcomed radical public policy shift, the Mayor of the City of Bulawayo His Worship Cllr Solomon Mguni has acknowledged the critical importance of waste pickers in refuse collection, sound service delivery, and development of the City.

In a statement during the 3366th Ordinary Council meeting of 2023, the Mayor in his speech to the Full Council meeting said:

There are lots of waste pickers and recycling groups that are crying out loud for empowerment. Litter has become today’s raw material. Why are we not taking advantage of that to reduce the burden of refuse collection and channel that money to other uses? Some want to do waste to energy like biogas. Let’s strengthen our policies. I know that the city fathers stand ready to approve policies that are meant to improve service delivery.

Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) has been working with Bulawayo Waste Pickers and empowering them with knowledge and skills to engage their local authority for pro-waste picker policies. Through MIHR efforts, the following have been achieved:

  1. The waste pickers have been mobilized and formed the Bulawayo Waste Pickers Association;
  2. Waste pickers have engaged the Bulawayo City Council on critical human rights, service and policy matters including the review of the City’s 1979 Bylaw that outlaws waste picking activities;
  3. Bulawayo waste pickers have been engaging government officials and private companies to improve market linkages and financing for waste pickers;
  4. Bulawayo female waste pickers have for the first time accessed protective equipment to enhance their enterprises.

MIHR remains committed to advancing the rights and welfare of Bulawayo waste pickers and is going to be engaging the Bulawayo City Council on the City’s policies relating to waste picking. This will bring to finality the policy commitment already displayed by the Mayor.


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