The Gauteng Provincial Government on Wednesday 20 November hosted the Informal Economy and Foreign Nationals Nexus Policy Dialogue, in Johannesburg.

The aim of the dialogue was to explore the impact foreign nationals have on informal sector trading.

Speaking at the event, South African informal traders denied allegations that local businesses did not like foreign businessmen because they were scared of competition.

Qedindlala Hawkers Association’s Sipho Twala said they had nothing against foreign nationals and they welcomed them in their backyards.

“We do not hate our brothers and sisters, we have partnerships across the border. We have a SADC traders Association where we share policies of our countries as traders and experiences and strategies with the intention of strengthening the traders network,” said Twala.

He urged government to make sure that all foreign nationals are documented so that it becomes easier to get them integrated within the communities.

Ngqalabutho Mabena from the African Diaspora Forum, said he understood the concerns raised by local informal traders.

“We have is to setup a commission on business to begin to see how best we integrate business between local South Africans and foreign national and deal with the pricing issue, because the success of any business is determined by the reaction of the market,” said Mabena.

Khuliwe Bengu of SERI said that the state whether at national, provincial or local level needed to stop criminalising informal traders, especially foreign nationals.

“The problem is informal traders have permits but they are still denied the ability to make a living to feed their families and themselves,” added Bengu.

Source: Gauteng Province