Informal traders say it’s back to square one as they have to replace spoiled stock. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)
Informal traders say it’s back to square one as they have to replace spoiled stock. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Tough times for Tshwane informal traders returning to work

By Liam Ngobeni Time of article published Apr 16, 2020

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Pretoria - While most informal traders have welcomed the process to allow them to trade during lockdown, most have said it’s back to square one as they have to replace spoiled stock.

The process follows an unexpected high number of informal food traders applying for permission to trade and the Easter holidays that disturbed the processing of the applications, 

Speaking to Pretoria News outside the Ou Nederlandsche Bank Building near Church Square, Johannes Maredi said it was tough times to work as an informal trader.

“Most of my stock went to waste because I could not sell it before the lockdown, and now I have to start from the beginning.”

Maredi said he also did not know what the future held for small traders like him as the virus had taken over every business, small and big.

He said he had been waiting in vain and the long queue was a testament to the number of traders who were not able to work and this in turn would "help the economy during these trying times while allowing people like us to make means for our families stuck at home".

"We just want the government to consider lending us a hand as we fight to survive during this time when we are faced by this virus and with no idea how long it will last for.”

Hester Masebo echoed Maredi’s sentiments of a tough present time and bleak future.

He said they had lost a lot already but understood the situation needed rigorous stances in order to flatten the curve.

Working as a spaza shop owner in the west of the city, Masebo said a lot of stock had been spoiled and some had been donated as he feared it would go to waste.

He said the process of re-stocking while having spent a lot to survive during the lockdown had severely strained his finances but this was the plight faced by many like him.

As the queue snaked around the block and traders tried to apply for permits to trade, the DA called on the government to rethink the current regulations regarding fresh produce and informal traders.

DA Gauteng spokesperson on Economic Development Makashule Gana said the current regulations allowed for informal traders with permits to sell fresh produce in designated areas.

“While this move to amend the original disaster management regulations was correct, the DA believes that it has done very little to assist informal traders.”

He said traders depended on foot traffic for the bulk of their customers and the regulations to fight Covid-19 restricted the movement of people and therefore limited customer availability.

“As the DA in Gauteng we are calling for the relaxation of regulations to allow for informal traders who sell produce to be permitted to sell their produce in residential areas with trolleys.”

“Furthermore, we are calling on supermarket chains to assist informal traders with trolleys and for the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to make Tuk-Tuks available as well.”

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Pretoria News

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