The items were handed over by Deputy Minister Cassel Mathale to 240 traders. They received fridges, baking stoves, catering chairs and tables, chafing dishes, gazebos, round tables, wheelbarrows, laptops, printers, tablets and JoJo tanks, among other things.
The Small Enterprise Development Agency facilitated the programme after receiving a mandate from Small Business Development, which sought to empower the informal traders.
Mathale said: “Informal traders don’t often qualify to get assistance from ecosystems that deal with small businesses because of the rules.
“That is why we took a decision to give them a grant to help them buy basic equipment they need for their businesses.
“Those small basic things that they need will make a difference to their businesses and we believe that as government, if we step in and give a helping hand, their businesses can do much better.” He said those who sold liquid drinks would benefit from fridges by selling cold drinks throughout the day instead of relying on ice blocks that melted over time. However, beneficiaries received only equipment they needed for their specific businesses.
Mathale said the department invested at least R50million for this project to benefit informal business owners in all nine provinces. Of this amount, R11.4m was set aside for 1000 beneficiaries in Gauteng alone. Beneficiaries received training and a R9000 grant to procure tools and equipment they needed.
The department said government identified the informal trading sector as critical to address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
Tsietsi Mampuru from Soshanguve, who ran a construction company, received two laptops and printers to help him make designs. He said his computer was old and slow and for that reason he appreciated government’s support. Nelly Makhubela from Marabastad said: “I am so happy to finally receive these items because they will assist my sewing business. I am going to receive a fridge to serve my customers cool drinks and a gazebo and tables to design the actual clothes. I wish government could do this for other people as well.”