Tzaneen Hawkers make an honest living

Polvia Mokoena serving one of her patrons Sydney Selowa.


Many of these hawkers are single mothers with no other source of income.

With the rapid rise of unemployment in the country, street trading seems to be a solution to many households.

LETABA HERALD paid a visit to the bus rank and spoke to some of the hawkers found in that area.

First to speak to us was Sarah Ramahlo (54) from Marironi village in Bolobedu, a single mother of two.

She says that she has been a hawker for over 20 years.

“I have been trading since the apartheid government when they use to harass and sometimes even arrest us”.

“I wake up at around 05:00 every morning to get here by 07:00”.

“I have no choice as we live under extreme poverty and this is my only source of income”, explained Sarah.

Also read: VIDEO: Workers day…for over a century workers fought for labour rights

According to her, there is an annual trading license fee of R260 which hawkers pay to the municipality.

She says she does not understand where that payment goes because they do not get any services from the municipality.

She further says that because the trade is unregulated, overcrowding is a huge problem.

Tumelo Makgoka and his trolley, which he uses to carry customer goods from store to the bus and taxi rank.

Theft and break-ins, which occur often and cripple the trader’s businesses, are some of the challenges hawkers face on a daily basis.

Sarah says the money she makes has helped her lot, boasting that one of her children is now a varsity student.

Her wish is for government to fund businesses like hers in the informal sector, especially those led by women.

The Herald also spoke to Polvia Mokoena, who says she started street trading in Tzaneen in March 1994.

She also wakes up very early in the morning, at 03:30 to catch a minibus at around 04:30 which arrives in town by 05:00.

Also read: War declared on illegal hawkers in Tzaneen

Polvia complains about theft and break-ins experienced by hawkers, and her plea to the municipality is that they must take action.

She says that life would be much easier if the government could enforce law and order and properly demarcate space for individual hawkers.

Sarah Ramahlo(54) makes sure that public transport commuters never go hungry with her daily pop-up restaurant

She says that the money she makes from her business, helped her raise her children, adding that one of her children teaches computer at local schools and that another one is currently an intern.

Lastly, Letaba Herald spoke to a rather energetic 26 year old Tumelo Makgoka, who runs a different kind of business.

He uses trolleys to help shoppers carry their goods form the store to the taxi and bus ranks, at a small fee.

He lives with his wife and daughter and says he has been operating this trade since 2006.

The money is barely enough for his small family’s upkeep.

He says he charges customers a R10 fee per trip and makes around R100 per day.

“It is an honest way of making a living but I wish that government would create more jobs”.

So next time you come across one of these traders, buy an item or two in support of these hardworking members of society, who are trying their best to earn an honest living.

Seabela Maila

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