As South Africa's unemployment lines keep growing in its first post-apartheid recession, Johannesburg's downtown sidewalks are increasingly crowded with street vendors hawking their wares. This is according to spokesperson for the Ecumenical Service for Socioeconomic Transformation, Thabo Koole.
Koole points out that, "Informal trading is seen as a sign of underdevelopment and primitive -- a sign of weakness."
He argues that most of the informal traders are illiterate and poor and therefore treated as a nuisance and eyesore that has to be wiped off the streets of the city.
However, with unemployment swelling to 23,6 percent in statistics that came out last week, President Jacob Zuma and the African National Congress (ANC) are already backpedalling on promises to create 500 000 jobs this year.
The Mail & Guardian has quoted Sthabile Mahlangu, a domestic worker who lost her job as saying, “We will die of hunger if we are going to wait for the ANC to create jobs." She was pleading with a passerby to buy from her stall in downtown Johannesburg.
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