VISET Statement on Guidelines for Informal Sector Reopening

The Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) welcomes the statement by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development concerning guidelines for the informal sector to reopen in line with Statutory Instrument 136 of 2020.

The guidelines announced are also in tandem with the self-regulation which VISET has been championing with our membership during the Covid-19 awareness campaigns we have been conducting nationally since the national lockdown was proclaimed.

As VISET, our attention has been drawn to the issue contained in the guidelines pertaining to registration of Informal Traders with Local Authorities, as well as the allocations to be done at newly established and refurbished markets. Past experience would have us know that, there are some unscrupulous amongst us who will seek to take advantage of such a noble intervention to allocate themselves and their associates multiple market stalls which are then rented at a premium, creating the infamous “Space Barons”.

Informal Traders have been sorely affected by loss of incomes during this lockdown period and have also been adversely affected by demolitions of their market stalls, hence should be sheltered from any rent seeking tendencies. We contend that the Local Authorities should by all means ensure this process is as transparent as possible and a sure way of achieving this is bringing on board informal sector representatives in all processes to be initiated in this regard. This will ensure greater buy-in and conformity as well as removing suspicions of underhand dealings as has been the case in the past.

As an organisation, we would like to put on record the cooperation we have received in the past from Local Authorities during our awareness campaigns and would hope this can be continued as we embark on this next step in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Further, we urge all Local Authorities to ensure that the process of construction and refurbishing of Traders’ Markets is expedited so as to certify the success of the reopening exercise.

Source: Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET)