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Call to assist informal traders

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Many informal traders have had to shut down their businesses as they have not been able to obtain the necessary permits to trade since the national lockdown restrictions were implemented.

THE CHAIRPERSON of the select committee on economic and small business development, Mandla Rayi, has called on the Department of Small Business Development and local municipalities to assist informal traders with registration so that they can access lockdown benefits.

Many informal traders have had to shut down their businesses as they have not been able to obtain the necessary permits to trade since the national lockdown restrictions were implemented.

Rayi said the registration of informal traders should continue beyond the lockdown.

“The committee is concerned that traders in the informal sector are unable to access the benefits as they are not registered, but also they are unable to trade during the lockdown,” said Rayi.

He added that the informal sector was the backbone of the economy.

“Informal traders are struggling during the extended lockdown while trading hours have been curtailed due to regulations that were implemented to limit movement.

“Municipalities should assist informal traders and spaza shops with registration for the purpose of accessing lockdown benefits, and long-term trading beyond Covid-19.”

Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie said the municipality currently had 101 permits for tuck shops.

“Of the permits 78 were recently verified in terms of South African versus foreign-owned tuck shops.”

He indicated that the municipality was only issuing special permits for informal settlement areas as a mitigation measure to restrict unnecessary movement of community members to neighbouring wards.

“Currently the municipality does not have any funding relief for tuck shops and it is reliant on the Department of Small Business Development in terms of available communique for funding relief and loans available to SMMEs and tuck shops,” said Matsie.