“To address all the challenges that informal trading spaza shop owners face in Mkhondo, everything would have to be done according to the law.” – Mr Treasure Thabede, Local Economic Development Manager at the Mkhondo Local Municipality.
During last week, Mkhondo Local Municipality, hosted a dialogue discussion through the office of the local Economic Development Department to address the future of Spaza shops in Mkhondo.
This was an opportunity to look at the various challenges that informal trading spaza shop owners are currently facing, but it has also highlighted economic opportunities in the industry.
The issue of illegal trading, where businesses operate without legitimate permits and foreign individuals who are illegally in South Africa (without the necessary documentation), but are trading, is of major concern. These individuals are taking up business premises and conduct business in the form of Spaza shops, where legitimate entrepreneurs have limited space or opportunities.
Mr Thabede confirmed that there are both challenges as well as good opportunities within the Spaza shop trading industry within Mkhondo, but these problems need to be addressed first, according to the South African law.
The solution should include clarification from the Department of Home Affairs and the SAPS on what the way forward should be regarding illegal immigrant business owners.
Another challenge that was raised was the fact that numerous Spaza shop owners do not have the necessary training as to how to address their clients or how to successfully conduct business.
They are uncertain as to how they should price the goods that they are selling in order to be competitive with other similar shops. It was mentioned that a follow-up meeting was to be scheduled, which will include the relevant stakeholders of all the municipal departments.
At this meeting, the departments’ representatives will discuss all the challenges as well as the opportunities so that a way forward can be found. Mr Thabede stated that he would keep the Excelsior News informed on the progress.