Khayelitsha informal traders have been encouraged to invest in their personal and business development.
On Monday November 4, small businesses affiliated to the United Khula Informal Traders Association (UKITA) were introduced to various programmes to uplift and develop them, with members being enrolled in six-month and year-long programmes sponsored by the Department of Higher Education.
The Ukita said it had found that informal traders, who make up 90% of the businesses that operate in the townships, had limited knowledge of business practice, rules and how to price their goods.
Therefore, by improving their skills, they could positively impact the township economy.
Ukita advisor Siyabulela Siswana said the purpose of the programmes was to understand the challenges that traders faced when they dealt with customers as well as the challenges which hampered business.
He said there’s often constraints that reduce production because of lack of access to education. “We aim to take them to another learning programme soon. We want them to reach another level of their businesses. In the long run we aim to make these formal so that we can look at some informal traders. They should be informal traders all their lives. They need to take a step up and grow,” he said. He said the only way for them to grow would be to give them better access to resources, education and finances.
Thanking their organisation, many of the traders said because of a lack of knowledge they were not making a lot of money, but just enough to support their families.
Lingelethu Lingani said the programmes were an eye-opener for many of them. “It is amazing how we thought we know and yet we know nothing,” he said.
“I am grateful for the knowledge given to me and my fellow traders by our organisation. They have educated us to know the trade we are doing. They have helped us to know more about what we should do to improve our business.
“I now have a plan to invest and grow my business. And my sole wish is for us all to grow beyond our initial intentions,” he said.
Nonkazimlo Mabandla-Bota said she was grateful to have “excellent mentors” and added that now had a better understanding of pricing. “Most of the traders are not being given much knowledge. I was not clear in the pricing and profit in the business. But now I am more clearer than before. This is thanks to the Ukita for looking after us. This will have a positive impact on our businesses,” she said.
Founding member of Ukita, David Moyake, appealed to his members to always look out for opportunities the organisation offered.