Informal traders say while they support the City of Cape Town’s decision to call off the summer markets, it will be a devastating blow financially. The markets were cancelled due to the increase in Covid19 cases in the province.
Speaking on VOC’s Breakfast show on Friday morning, Cape Peninsula Informal Traders Forum chairperson Rosheda Muller expressed the devastation that the pandemic has had on the livelihood of traders.
“Unfortunately, due to these unprecedent times we have been knocked as the informal sector, the adverse impact on the traders have been exponential,” stated Muller.
“I’m not someone that easily accepts anything,” chuckled Muller.
“But, we have to consider life first,” she added.
Muller explained they appealed to the City to look at alternative ways of creating trade opportunities for vendors. She added traders had to be innovative and have now created a trading forum on Whatsapp, which has worked remarkably well.
“It will take years to recover from this affects but people have alternate ways to make an income and this is what most of the entrepreneurs did,” smiled Muller.
The festive season is a bustling time of year for traders, particularly those who trade at night markets such as the Cape Town night market and the Somerset West Festival Under the Lights.
Taj Akleker from the Somerset West markets said it’s an “uncomfortable decision” but public health comes first.
“The cancellation was expected but that does not take away from the devastation within the informal sector,” explained Akleker.
Akleker said there would be many difficulties for traders if the event went ahead, such as limited space at the festival, crowd control, small trading areas and the strain of wearing masks for food traders, working under hot conditions.
All City-run summer markets scheduled to take place during the festive period have also been postponed. The Cape Town Summer Market, which is most popular, usually attracts an estimated 5 000 people per night during the five hours of operation.
Mayco member for Urban Development, Grant Twigg said the city has taken into consideration the socio-economic impact that the postponement of the markets will have on its residents.
“However, we have had to take into consideration the possible impact on the health of residents as well as the health-care system in general.
“A single super-spreader event will have a much bigger impact on the economy of the City of Cape Town and we have had to make this tough call to postpone the summer markets and make responsible decisions to protect our people from this deadly pandemic,” stated Twigg.