Competitors, Fawu to protest against informal traders

Vavi urges officials to take action

Rose Nkosi has been running a spaza shop for more than 30 years and has raised her children with the money she earned from her business.

But in recent years Nkosi’s business in Dube, Soweto, has taken a knock leaving her struggling to break even.

Yesterday, Nkosi – who is also president of the SA Spaza and Tuckshop Association – blamed the decline ofher business on informal traders in townships who operate illegally and trade in illicit products.

She is one of the spaza shop owners who has joined forces with the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) to march to the South African Revenue Service (Sars)headquarters in Pretoria tomorrow to protest against illicit trade – a move also supported by the – SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu).

Fawu said the march would highlight the impact illicit trade has on poultry, tobacco, liquor and textiles. Nkosi said illicit trading was “killing” township businesses.

“I feel strongly that this march will shake our government a bit. We are surrounded by foreign nationals who are not registered, they are not paying tax and [they are} selling products that make people sick. What are the tax people saying?

“Where are the health inspectors when people sleep in the same room they sell food in?”

“I feel strongly that this march will shake our government”

Nkosi said business opportunities for spaza shop owners had declined because people rushed to buy cheap products.

Fawu general secretary Katishi Masemola said the campaign was meant to save existing jobs and to create more jobs, among other reasons. “Poultry producers in this country produce 65% of the products we consume and the rest is done illegally.

“If nothing is done, it is possible that poultry producers will die in future.

Out of any pack of cigarettes R16.50 goes to tax, now if someone sells a packet for R18 how do they pay tax? Fawu is of a strong belief that the current existing laws on customs, excise and related matters must be enforced by Sars,” he said.

Masemola said the next step would be to take the protest action to big retailers.

Saftu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said: “We want government to please act now. This is a crisis that affects the majority of people who are poor.”

By Pertunia Mafokwane
First published in Sowetan on 05 March 2018

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