Informal traders are anxious about not having an income for the next 21 days after President Ramaphosa’s lockdown declaration. Picture: Henk Kruger / African News Agency (ANA)
Informal traders are anxious about not having an income for the next 21 days after President Ramaphosa’s lockdown declaration. Picture: Henk Kruger / African News Agency (ANA)

Informal traders in Cape Town rue big lockdown loss of income

By Athandile Siyo Time of article published Mar 26, 2020

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Cape Town – Informal traders have expressed fears that they may not have an income for the next 21 days as the country prepares to go into lockdown.

Ntombekhaya Gqoyi, 36, from Mfuleni, sells vetkoek and umleqwa across the road from the newly developed Forest Village in Eerste River.

The mother of three said she was in despair following the news that markets and traders would be shut down in an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Gqoyi said she had been working as a street vendor for the past five years and had been the sole provider for her children.

“I have never had a job the little money I make from my stand and child support grant is the only income I have.

“My children have always known that mommy provides. What am I going to tell them now?” she said.

Fear around Covid-19 had been a nightmare for herself and her family, she added.

“Even now people don’t buy like they used to; they are sceptical because they question how hygienic my food preparation is,” she said.

The SA informal Traders Alliance (Saita) said they had been working with a number of organisations to put pressure on the government to create a relief fund for their members.

Saita president Rosheda Muller said a vulnerable sector like informal trade would be further marginalised in the lockdown.

“Yes, we are not registered businesses but we are breadwinners. 

“Government is fully aware of our existence, as most of us pay monthly permits,” she said.

The City said the lockdown applied to all informal traders who operate on streets, in markets and free trading zones and regulated areas, including those along main roads.

“The restriction on informal trade will be reviewed as the situation changes.

“The City is in the process of communicating this decision to the affected parties, including informal traders,” the City said.

Cape Times

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