Informal traders welcome R4bn budget allocation for rural, township enterprises

But warns the ‘devil is in the delivery’

25 February 2021 - 11:10
By TimesLIVE
Some of the fruit that is traded at the People's Market in Johannesburg. File image
Image: Kgaugelo Masweneng, Some of the fruit that is traded at the People's Market in Johannesburg. File image

The SA Informal Traders Alliance (Saita) has welcomed the budget allocation of R4bn to the department of small business development to support rural and township-based enterprises.

“As always the devil is in delivery, and therefore would like to be able to monitor the implementation of this budget closely to ensure it reaches its intended recipients. As we always say, nothing about us, without us,” said Rosheda Muller, national president of the alliance.

“Informal traders are the backbone of the township economy. We create and preserve millions of jobs and play a valuable role in the sustainability and financial resilience of the most marginalised sector in the SA economy.

“However, over the years we have seen many programmes aimed at supporting informal traders come and go, but accessing support remains a challenge. This has been especially challenging during the pandemic.

“As the largest informal traders collective in SA, we have a unique understanding of the operational obstacles and opportunities that exist in this sector, so we are hopeful that the minister of small business development engages meaningfully with our sector.”

Muller said she was disappointed by the tax increase on tobacco products, it being a cornerstone product for the informal trade.

“Illicit trade is already at unsustainable levels, and we have noticed, time and time again, how increasing the price of legal products impacts the growth of illicit trade. The issue, of course, is that government, and Treasury in particular, will feel the pain of a growing illicit market when they fail to achieve the taxes due to them as illicit tobacco takes a larger portion of the market share.

“This revenue could be used by the government for infrastructure development and relief to the informal trade.”

TimesLIVE