Many informal food traders in Kimberley are yet to secure permits to operate during the lockdown period. Some vegetable and fruit hawkers say they do not meet the requirements, which include being in possession of an existing trading license.

Informal traders were initially prohibited to operate to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

In the video below, municipalities start issuing out permits to informal traders after government allows them to operate during lockdown. 

Selling fruits and vegetables is the only source of income for many in the informal trading sector. Without permits, informal traders cannot operate during the lockdown period.

Not only do they require permits, they also need to operate in demarcated areas and observe good hygiene practices.

Chairperson of the Kapa Bokone Informal Traders Association, Othusitse Jackals, says some Kimberley hawkers have never had permits.

“All these years, we have been working without those certificates and now all of a sudden, we have to comply.”

Jackals is one of the lucky ones with a permit, but he says he is feeling the negative impact of the lockdown.

“There are no people there in town so I am trying to serve the community around me. I am not making as much money as I used to in the CBD. It is just for survival.”

Velaphi Mokae is a father of three who has resorted to selling illegally just to feed his family.

“Our problem is that we do not have permits and now we work in fear because we do not know when the police will decide to come and confiscate our goods. It is heartbreaking because I have no other income and if I cannot feed my children then I am a useless parent.”

Spokesperson for the Sol Plaatje Municipality, Sello Matsie, says they are trying to accommodate all hawkers.

“Unfortunately, those that are being attended to currently are those that initially had permits. As part of the lockdown, we are trying to engage with them to see how far we can go when it comes to issuing of such permits.”

Despite receiving the green light to trade under certain conditions, the city centre remains empty, with many hawkers deprived of an opportunity to make an income.

In the video below, some informal traders say thst they are struggling to get permits.