The South African Informal Traders Alliance says those working in the informal sector should be acknowledged as valuable contributors to the country’s economy. The organisation led a series of protests marches across the country yesterday, including one in Cape Town.
The alliance’s, Rosheda Muller, says the need for social security for informal traders is among their top priorities. Having the self-realisation of their economic worth within the broader context of South African society, it was important to send a clear message to all tiers of government, business, and society, that the informal economy is as important a role player as its formal business cousins. The formation and launch of South Africa Informal Traders Association (SAITA) is a manifestation of that fact.
It is a given that the informal business economy has until now not enjoyed the fruits of acknowledgement and respect for its roles in entrepreneurial exposure, job-creation and poverty alleviation. In addition to its provincial structures, the informal business economy now has a national voice in SAITA and intend to utilise this base and collective muscle to leverage the best for members, both in terms of negotiations with authorities as well as to accessing opportunities until now denied same.
SAITA gives the informal traders the opportunity to liaise on national and international stages and places their profile equally among those who have enjoyed the fruits of their statuses. Nevertheless, most importantly this association sets out to change the perceptions, which government, local authorities and corporations have over many decades mistakenly garnered about the sector. SAITA brings together more than just members. It is the establishment of a metaphorical bridge along which the informal economy shall cross from marginalisation and non-recognition to equality, acknowledgement and respect.