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Vilakazi Street vendors fear being sidelined during ANC conference

Local businesses have had their hands full with preparing to accommodate the scores of people who they hope will visit their establishments.

FILE: Vilakazi Street in Soweto. Picture: Katleho Sekhotho/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - While established businesses in the Soweto area are looking forward to the economic boost that comes from the African National Congress (ANC) conference, informal traders say they fear a loss.

Thousands of delegates, dignitaries and media will make their way to the south of Johannesburg for the ANC’s elective conference beginning on Saturday.

Local businesses have had their hands full with preparing to accommodate the scores of people who they hope will visit their establishments.

“We don’t benefit from that conference as local vendors.”

While many of the local vendors on Vilakazi Street say they welcome the extra business, they fear being bullied from their usual trading spots by ANC-aligned vendors trying to sell party merchandise.

Founder of Soweto Township Tours, Kgomotso Pooe, who’s business operates around historically acclaimed Vilakazi Street, says he’s also noticed the side-lining of the local street vendors.

“Let Sowetans and other outsiders merge and be one. So, if you’re a vendor and you find a space, talk to the people around and share spaces rather than just talking spaces.”

The provincial economic development department released a statement on the laws around liquor sales during the conference but declined to comment on the local vendors concerns.

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