Small businesses hope to recover from COVID-19 losses during ANC conference

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With many businesses still recovering from the disruptions and losses brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions, vendors and merchants are seeking their pot of gold and a new start at the 55th ANC National Elective Conference.

The roads along the Johannesburg Expo Centre in Nasrec are lined with merchandisers and vendors who have also descended to the south of Johannesburg, along with delegates, for the conference.

One can get anything from t-shirts, hats and whistles to dresses and clothes donning the faces of ANC heroes, as well as a hot plate of food.

A merchandiser selling ANC-branded clothing including leather jackets, golf t-shirts and even fedoras, explains that he has been selling ANC-branded merchandise for over seven years and has travelled to numerous ANC conferences and events around the country.

Speaking to SABC News, he explains the process of becoming a vendor at an ANC event: “First of all to need to register as a merchandiser and then you are added to a [WhatsApp] group once you’re in the system. When there are events they give information, and those who are interested must register for the event and pay the requisite fee.”

When asked how business has been going, he explains that things were tough during COVID-19 but affirms that business is slowly picking up.

Delegates and supporters have come from all over the country to be at the conference, and local businesses are seizing the opportunity to increase sales and profits from the mass arrival of visitors from outside the province.