Informal traders to get access to mainstream banking services

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Informal traders in KwaZulu- Natal are to get access to mainstream banking thanks to a partnership between Nedbank and the Informal Sector Empowerment Cooperative (Isec), which represents informal traders.

Most informal traders are excluded from mainstream banking and are forced to borrow from money lenders at exorbitant interest rates and hide their savings under the mattress.

Thousands of informal traders will now be able to open business and transaction accounts.

"This will be good for my business," said seamstress Lindiwe Zuma. A mother of four, her husband has been unemployed since 1998. She sews clothes, including pinafores, for domestic workers. They are sold informally.

"I sell my goods in other provinces and in neighbouring states.

"Through the services offered by the bank I will be able to increase my business. I already employ two people and will be able to employ more," she said.

Immanuel Dlamini, chairman of Isec, said the new banking services would enable the organisation's members to manage their daily cash flow.

"Most of our members are widows from rural areas," he said.

"This project helps us close the gap between the first and second economies. It gives our members, especially those who make crafts, the skills to practise good business and avoid being exploited."

Nedbank's director for mass marketing, Mohamed Saloojee, said: "This venture broadens employment and business opportunities for informal traders.

"It encourages investment and increases the income they can generate, while operating as a commercially viable operation."