Informal recyclers returns to work on level 4


After announcement made by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the country would be moving to the level 4, the minister of trade and industry, Ebrahim Patel has also add his voice that recycling centres including waste pickers would as from 01 May be allowed to return to work.

Andile Sephadi, (37) informal recycler said he was overwhelmed to be back at work again saying his livelihood depend on picking up waste in and around Setlaboswane area just outside Marble Hall. Andile takes the waste to the local recycling enterprises for a few coins.

“Picking up waste helps me to put food on the table for myself and to be able to purchase basic needs,” said Andile.

“Going to bed hungry can really kill your spirit, unfortunately, for most of us that is a real thing as we do not have any alternatives, with the unemployment rate already alarming, we are even more doomed after this lockdown, should it end,” he explained.

Andile faces challenge when people do not separate their waste accordingly before dumping and sometimes those items are damaged.

Another resident from nearby Andile’s area said the lockdown has wreaked havoc and brought shame in the life of informal traders. She was previously earning an income by selling low profit items like school bags, earrings and cell phone covers

Expressing her disappointment hawker said she faces unusual situation whereby and sometimes survive through hand-outs from neighbours as she only sees food parcels on television. 

“These people politicise everything and anything. They feed their own children with food parcels meant for the community,” she said

“They registered us promising food parcels but we didn’t received anything yet,” explained resident.

She adds “corruption will never end in this country,”

She didn’t even know about the R350 unemployed grant announced by the government to help people like herself, she only found about it on during the interview.

“I don’t have even a cent on me right now because with the work I do, you live from hand to mouth. So, when the government said you should not go out and only stay at home, it was just a matter of time before I ran out of money,” she said

Hawker said she does not want to rely on other people because she believes that everyone is struggling to make ends meet.

“Anyone wants to take care for their family, I really wouldn’t want to be a burden on other people. I cannot wait for this lockdown to be lifted,” she explained

Thapelo Motseo

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