By Poloko Mokhele
A group of street vendors’ associations have vowed to take an undisclosed action against Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro should he fail to ensure that foreign-owned enterprises operate in compliance with trading regulations
They have vowed to take on Majoro if within 14 days he fails to act.
Addressing a press conference this week, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Association (MSME), Thibella Street Vendors Association, Mohahlaula oa Baitŝokoli Bohle Association together with Khabane tsa Moshoeshoe Association indicated that they “continue to suffer due to unfair competition against them declared by foreign owned enterprises of selling items meant for small business owners.”
MSME Association president, Motlere Thobi, argued that poor trading regulations implementation by the ministry of trade and industry as a major source for their ill-treatment, He observed that “the ministry of trade and industry has regulations that are meant to regulate how big supermarkets are supposed to operate.
But, he added, there is no one who ensures that they operate in compliance with the legislation which is only on paper.
“In April this year, we were in Butha-Buthe with the minister of trade and industry to ensure that there is compliance of the set regulations and I can confidently state that a number of supermarkets in that district are now complying. We thought that this would be a country-wide campaign but to our disappointment, there has not been any action taken in other districts,” he fumed.
Thobi also stipulated that they feel aggrieved by the ministry of small businesses development as their claims are falling on deaf ears.
“The ministry of small businesses development does not have any policies that protect us or meet our expectations. We tried to bring this to its attention on several occasions but there have not been any positive results, This this is why today we demand the prime minister to explain clearly to us, which ministry we are responsible to because our problems are always not attended to due to the fact that there is no entity in the ministry that protects us,” Thobi said.
The four associations also complained that to date, most of their members have not received their Covid-19 relief funds which government had promised to hand out for three months in 2020 during the strict lockdown. The restriction was meant to curb the spread of Covid-19. They indicated that after they were ordered to stay at home most of their products were destroyed.
‘Mataelo Mphale of Mohahlaula association added: “We want a detailed reply from the prime minister for all our demands before Christmas, so that we can also have an enjoyable Christmas with our families.