Hawkers in KwaZulu-Natal have welcomed the relaxation of the 21-day lockdown regulations, a move which allows them to trade.

The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected people in the informal sector who cannot make a living.

KwaZulu-Natal is the province with the highest death toll in the country.

Only a handful of the informal traders have returned to sell their goods.

Nhlanhla Mbhele from Estcourt in the Midlands has been able to provide for his family for the past ten years by selling fruits and vegetables in the Durban city centre.

“The situation was very bad, when we were not making any income … our families were suffering. So after government allowed us to sell our goods, we are hoping to recover although it is very quiet at the moment.”

”During the day we do not have customers  since taxis are not operating coming back in the afternoon, we rely on essential service workers to buy something on their way home.”

“We are seriously struggling although we appreciate the relaxation of the regulation. We will get few rands taking them home some of the street vendors are not back yet. It’s only a few of us, we are really hungry and need to earn a living.”

In the video below, vendors react to the relaxation of some regulations:  

Meanwhile, uMsunduzi Mayor Mzimkhulu Thelebolla says they will ensure that only vendors with the necessary permits continue trading.

“We have started issuing permits to the street vendors. Ours is to ensure that the community is safe. Therefore (we want to) say to those who will be issued with permits, they (should) ensure their safety and those of their families by keeping clean at all times.”

“But also ensure that their customers are safe at all times. We encourage all of them to keep the protocol of social distance, cleanliness at all times. So that even those who are buying from them and their families are safe.”