Food parcels go a long way to ease hawkers' lockdown struggles
BARBERTON - The deputy spokesperson of the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature, Vusi Mkhatshwa, recently brought much-needed relief to several street hawkers with food parcels he donated to them. Mkhatshwa was also accompanied by Member of Parliament, Sthembile Mhlongo.
Mkhatshwa said informal traders like these street hawkers had been some of the hardest hit when the lockdown was implemented on March 26, as it had come without warning.
He said most of these hawkers were breadwinners for their families.
“By doing so (selling), you are feeding the nation. You contribute to the township economy. We encourage you to continue selling to feed the nation. You contribute to the economy of the municipality, province and the country as a whole,” said Mkhatshwa.
Though the Barberton Hawkers Association (BHA) has over 100 affiliated members, only 20 benefitted. Mkhatshwa promised that those who had not receive parcels would be assisted in future. He said those who had benefitted had been selected by the association management.
The association welcomed the gesture.
Dumisane Mahlalela, chairperson of the BHA, said the Covid-19 pandemic had a negative impact on business, as most street hawkers live from hand to mouth, and that the donated food would carry them for some days.
One of the beneficiaries, Sarah Zwane, thanked the member of the legislature for remembering them during these tough times. “When the lockdown was implemented, we had nowhere to go. We rely on selling here on the streets to feed our families. Some of us had to exhaust the little money we had saved prior to the lockdown. These food parcels will go a long way in supporting our families,” she said.
Editor: Anchen Coetzee
Written by: Richard Nkosi
Subeditor: Wahl Lessing