IEDF, Launch of “One Informal Economy / One Voice” campaign.

Gugulethu 23 March 2023.

And what a launch it was! In excess of 100 micro informal businesses flooded the Catholic church hall in Gugulethu to witness the launch of the “1 Informal Economy 1 Voice” mobilisation campaign, led by leading member based organisations within South Africa’s informal economy.

Various speakers spoke on the need for greater mobilization of the overall informal economy, stressing that it be undertaken from grassroots level. Identification it was said, is at the core of the process, and informal businesses, be they informal trading, home-based industries, construction, or any sub sector, needs to be identified, their needs and concerns noted and addressed, and their overall conditions enhanced.

We must at this juncture commend the IEDF ambassador, Ms. Mavis Manjanja for her sterling work in organizing the meeting and her irrepressible desire to conscientize her community as to the benefits to be derived from informal business unification. David Venter, chairman of the IEDF commended her. He spoke of the benefits of traders and other micro businesses doing business together, and thus rotating incomes within their communities. They needed to be inspired, and this David provided by citing the example of his father who had started a panel beating business in their home-based garage, and who progressed through sheer determination, and a dream to make his family self-reliant. Today, his father owns and operates a very successful business.

Informal businesses, it was said, had come to the realization that as stand-alone units they were largely powerless, and that their salvation, for lack of a better word, lay in a fully representative structure. One which possessed not only the required organizational skill and business acumen, but one that exuded empathy and understanding of their challenges, concerns, and hopes. The “1 Informal Economy / 1 Voice” campaign we believe answers that call.

IEDF President, Rosheda Müller, noted the difficulty and at times the impossibility of informal and micro businesses of being able to access aid from the Department of Small Business’s, Township and Rural Entrepreneurship Program (TREP). Through the current campaign, the informal economy will know they have a reliable and trusted partner. She added that the power lay in the people and that government and local authorities had become aware of it, but that it was up to us [the informal economy], to accelerate the process of complete unification.

Also present at the function were representatives of the Small Enterprise Finance Agency [SEFA] and the Department of Labour. They spoke on issues surrounding TREP and the importance of compliance. Overall the function was well supported and equally well received. Attendees expressed their cognizance of issues they were previously unaware, of and appreciation to the organizers and sponsors.

For more information on how you can join the 1 Informal Economy 1 Voice campaign, please contact Rochelle Pillay on 074 552 2891 or your nearest IEDF ambassador.