Local vendors selling beadwork near Durban's South Beach say big events such as the Tourism Indaba are meant to benefit only the rich.
Phumulile Cele, 58, has been making and selling her beadwork in the area for 28 years, but says every time big events such as Indaba are hosted in Durban, local people are not recognised.
Speaking to Sowetan at Indaba yesterday, Cele and other vendors, Thokozile Shinga and Sdudla Mhlongo, stood and watched helplessly as they were excluded from exhibiting.
They said they had paid a R320 entrance fee and were promised a stand to exhibit on Monday and Tuesday, but had been sent from pillar to post until the exhibition ended yesterday.
Most of the vendors selling handcrafts at Durban's beaches come from KwaZulu-Natal's rural areas and sometimes trade day and night until they have made enough money to take home.
Tourism KwaZulu-Natal chief executive Ndabo Khoza said the purpose of Indaba was obviously not understood by "these people".
Indaba was not about selling to make a profit, but an event where networking took place.
"I don't know who promised them a stand for R320, but as far as I know everyone who goes to the Indaba event has to pay to view the exhibition."
Indaba will be held in Durban again next year.