A joint programme between Inkosi Langalibalele Local Municipality and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) handed over various items to help grow business for informal traders.
A group of informal traders gathered outside the Estcourt Town Hall on Wednesday morning anticipating the official handover of much-needed business equipment.
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At 11am a truck pulled up into the drive way and offloaded items such as gas stoves, fridges, printers, cooler boxes, sewing machines and grass cutters among others. The informal traders’ eyes lit up.
Some of them have been waiting for equipment for nearly two years. A total of 22 beneficiaries from Estcourt, Hlathikhulu and Weenen, among them were fruit and vegetable vendors, barbers and food stall holders at taxi ranks and on sidewalks in town.
These entrepreneurs not only received equipment but prior to the handover they received basic business management training. The equipment they received will improve their working conditions and the training they underwent will ensure that the equipment is used effectively.
The SEDA uThukela Branch Manager Thanda Khathi during his address said:
“We will be checking back on you and the state of the equipment, so make sure you have given us the correct contact details.”
The main aim of the handover is to develop informal businesses in the area and close the gap between the formal and informal business sectors.
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Mayor Jabulile Mbele burst into song, which grew infectious among the informal traders who sprung to their feet and began singing along.
“I am so happy for you all that one would think I’m receiving equipment as well,” she said with a chuckle.
Mrs Mbele also encouraged the informal traders to bank a portion of their profits.
“The rand is not stable, but don’t ever be intimidated by the term ‘small’ or ‘informal traders’, even the rich clothing store owner will need the tomatoes you sell on the roadside. We all need you, you may be small now but you have started somewhere and you must build your way up,” Mrs Mbele added.
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Due to a shortage of stock and/or the price change due to Value Added Tax (VAT) increase, items such as fryers and popcorn machines will be made available at a later stage for those who applied for them.
Ahead of the equipment being handed over, Israel Mahosonla Ntshaba, Chairperson of the Development of Small Businesses on behalf of all the informal traders enthusiastically and with gratitude thanked everyone who got involved to make handover possible.