Article by Khanyi Moshia
Since the commencement of the national lockdown 11 days ago, informal traders have expressed their disappointment as they were initially excluded from trading.
This rule has since been amended by Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma.
Some traders say they’ve already suffered and they’ll continue to do so – since they don’t have customers due to the movement restrictions imposed by the government, thus they believe the government should compensate them for all the losses they’ve incurred, and will continue to incur – since the lockdown began.
Minister Dlamini-Zulu has since given informal traders the go-ahead to sell their essentials, and encouraged that they obtain their trading permits at their local councillor’s offices.
This request is deemed impossible by informal traders as they mention that their councillor’s offices have since been closed due to the lockdown, and they continue to get victimised by the police when they try to sell their products (without permits).
SA Informal Traders Alliance (SAITA) president-elect Rosheda Muller says they’re concerned about the amendment as they have been receiving calls that municipality offices were closed due to the lockdown, therefore permits cannot be issued.
SAITA supports street vendor’s requests to be compensated by the government during the lockdown by calling on the government to give each of the country’s estimated 3 million informal traders a R3000 stipend during the lockdown period.
The government has introduced small business emergency relief funds to assist businesses in distress, including informal traders but they’d have to register their companies with SARS and register on http://www.smmesa.gov.za for financial relief.