Hairdresser Martha Mphafudi said the three week shutdown is just too much. Picture: James Mahlokwane
Hairdresser Martha Mphafudi said the three week shutdown is just too much. Picture: James Mahlokwane

Covid-19: Informal traders at Mabopane Taxi Rank don't know how they will survive lockdown

By James Mahlokwane Time of article published Mar 24, 2020

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Pretoria - The lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa is going to wreak havoc in the lives of informal traders who earn all their income at the Mabopane Taxi Rank.

This view was expressed by various traders who said they supported the government's measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, but they were not financially ready to survive the length of the shutdown - which is set to last at least three weeks. 

They said they had been living hand-to-mouth for decades because of the kind of work they do, asking them to survive 21 days without trading was just too much.
 
The Mabopane Taxi Rank is popular for its massive market operated by tons of informal traders who sell almost everything, from food to clothes, they fix cellphones and offer internet cafe services.

With Thursday midnight announced as the official start of the total shutdown before soldiers start prohibiting unauthorised movement of people, informal traders see nothing but severe hunger for them and their families.

Cellphone repairer Johan Monareng said he is more worried about his children than he is worried about himself. Picture: James Mahlokwane

Mampe Matshole has been selling mielies and peanuts at the rank for over two decades and takes care of her three sons and some of her grandchildren.

She said: "My children cannot find work anywhere in this country so I have to provide for them from the little that I make here. 

"When you do this kind of work you don't make enough to save anything in the bank. 

"Today if I make R250, when I close I must quickly send a boy to buy maize meal and tomatoes. 

"Tomorrow if I make R200, I must buy R50 electricity and then the rest must go to replacing the stock."

Hairdresser Martha Mphafudi said: "These three weeks is just too much for us to be honest. All my clients are people who pass here so if I can't be here, how am I going to survive?"

"I'm the breadwinner in my family and everyone is looking at me for food and other essentials. I have been here for 23 years, I never thought I would ever have to deal with something like this."

Cellphone repairer Johan Monareng said he is more worried about his children than he is worried about himself.

"The problem is that I cannot go three weeks without income, but I do want this virus to be beat because it is going to kill us. My only concern is that these people making these decisions have a surplus of food and money, we don't. 

"What am I going to feed my kids? This is going to be hard."

Pretoria News

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