Informal traders lose out

The South African government's resolution to issue permits to Zimbabweans residing within its borders is threatening to sweep away informal traders, one of them spoke to our reporter Derick Matsengarwodzi about their plight.

Chipo Sharai prepares for the worst. For decades she has been a cross border trader. Hers is a business that is popular with Zimbabwean women selling various wares in South Africa and enduring long hours of travelling on buses. This has been, and remains, her source of survival. But all that might soon change.

“I have been selling wares for all my life, thats how I survive. My family depends on my business and I don’t know how I will make it with all the requirements they have put in place,” Chipo said with a load of brooms weighing on her shoulders.

From January 2011, Chipo, and all those in her line of business, must posses a permit to remain in South Africa. To be eligible one has to have: “Confirmation of the existence of self-employment and business address: e.g trading licence issued in terms of municipal by laws, proof of company registration with CIPRO or proof of registration of business with SARS (revenue collector)”, according to a government circular.

These demands have squashed Chipo’s hopes of staying in South Africa.

“I am not sure what to do now. Ever since I started this business we had no problems. I don’t know if I will get the required documents for my business to survive.”

Still she harbours a deeper phobia.

“I don’t know what will become of my family. This is all that I have in my life and I have worked for it. Nothing else”, she declares.

Her fears could be soon become a reality. The SA government has set a December 2010 deadline for permits. What will become of Chipo and her company is yet to be confirmed. Zimbabweans working in South Africa also face a bleak future.

They must also provide: “Proof of employment” from their employer with proof of company registration and tax clearance. This exercise excludes domestic and part time workers. What seemed a bright destination may soon become the demise of many.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *