Street vending - only way to survive

2016-11-22 06:00
One of the street vendors at a makeshift stall along Link Road in Waterfall. Photo: kalisha naicker

One of the street vendors at a makeshift stall along Link Road in Waterfall. Photo: kalisha naicker

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IN the Upper Highway area, illegal street vending carries heavy consequences, including arrest and fines, but for many, it is the only way to earn a living.

Upper Highway street vendor Blessing Ngema (name changed to protect identity) contacted the Fever after reading the article in last week’s paper highlighting the problem of street vendors in Waterfall.

According to Ngema, it is the only means of survival he has. He passed Grade 10, but was forced to open a roadside stall after the death of his parents.

“I have two younger sisters to support and this is the only means of income for my family,” he said.

“What’s better - to work for yourself or to steal? Go and linger in coffee shops, harass people for money, beg at traffic lights, or earn a living?” he asked.

The 35-year-old, who sells confectionary and fruit, said he doesn’t have a shop that sells hundreds of products, he only sells a few items to make ends meet.

“We’re all trying to find ways to make a living.”

He leaves home at 5am to “run” his stall and then leaves at 6pm.

“For me the hours don’t matter as long as I make enough money to feed my family at the end of the day.

“The little I make goes a long way.”

He said he wants people to understand he is not doing this to hurt anyone’s pocket, it’s a means of survival.

“There are no jobs out there, and as much as I try I just cannot find one without a qualification or experience. People need to hear both sides of the story before judging,

“There are many people in this community who stand at intersections begging, yet I do not want to beg, I want to work hard and earn my own money,” he said.

Ngema said he hopes that government will legalise this trade so that he is not labeled a “nuisance” anymore.

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