President’s address

Report by Rosheda Müller

President, IEDF.

22 September 2022.

As I write, I constantly reflect upon the meaning of my life. Like my late father who lived his life in service to his community, oft at the expense of his own family, I too have a passion for people, a trait which I probably inherited from him. And it’s always been comforting and reassuring when I’ve attained a sense of achievement from my interactions. At times it has been disappointing when one’s good intentions are deliberately misconstrued, and the ulterior motives of those whom you’ve trusted are exposed. Such is what I have experienced through 30 years of informal economy activism.

But I have never allowed negativities to dampen my spirit, or discourage me in any way from diverting from my chosen path. If anything, they embolden me to try even harder at helping to uplift and empower a sector I have come to embrace, and which plays such a pivotal role in my own life. Hence my focus has over the passage of time, shifted from being solely informal trader-centric, to one which encompasses the informal economy in its entirety.

At the IEDF I have found people who share my core values, who look upon what they do as a calling rather than a career, or as just another job. These fine upstanding, caring and focused men and women have through their understanding of the informal economy, convinced me that there is no other place I would rather play out my role than with them at the IEDF.

Being there has literally opened my eyes to the magnitude and variety of the informal economy. I have been exposed to sectors I did not know existed, and I am grateful.

As the first president of the IEDF, I strive to fulfil that role with uncompromising dedication, total commitment, and regular introspection. My work thus far has been rewarding and challenging.  I have gained an invaluable insight into the workings of a professional team which I am privileged and honoured to call comrades and friends. As a fairly young company, the IEDF like any other has its challenges. But our growth has been nothing short of phenomenal. That can be directly attributed to our innovative and ground-breaking programs and campaigns which have captured the imagination of many.

Whilst I cannot physically be in the office on a daily basis, my work never stops. I have always believed in leading from the front. The sub-sectors and its leaders whom I’ve been exposed to have given me a new perspective on the informal economy and I am proud and honoured to know them. With the continued support of comrades David, John, Paul, Chantal, and others, I am convinced my contribution to the upliftment of the informal economy will gather momentum and indeed increase our footprint as the official interlocutor and conduit between the informal economy of South Africa on the one hand, and government and corporations on the other. 

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