Forgotten newspaper hawkers to get food relief

23 May 2020 - 09:00 By Nonkululeko Njilo
Newspaper hawkers forgotten during lockdown, local groups to provide food relief
Newspaper hawkers forgotten during lockdown, local groups to provide food relief
Image: iStock Images

The plight of newspaper hawkers under lockdown has prompted two non-profit organisations to team up to provide humanitarian relief to them.

“Since the lockdown started, newspapers hawkers have disappeared from our streets, neglected and forgotten.

“They work in an informal sector, and do not enjoy the state-regulated minimum wage nor do they have access to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). These are breadwinners for their families; the foot soldiers for the newsrooms to keep us informed on the happenings in the country and world,” said Castro Ngobese.

The initiative by We Care and Harry Gwala Foundation was expected to distribute food parcels to nearly 100 hawkers in Pretoria and Mamelodi on Sunday.

The organisations said they said received a sizeable number of food parcels but needed more due to the higher demand.

“We request in kind that you make a contribution. Your contribution will help a family in need during these trying and difficult times,” said Ngobese.  

SA Netball assistant coach Dumisani Chauke is among those supporting the initiative. She said she would use the platform to encourage vendors not to lose hope.

“My take as a sports person is that we rely on the media to tell our stories, and through print media we rely on the street vendors to sell the papers so that people can read. I think this is an opportunity to speak and encourage the street vendors that might feel neglected and somehow encourage them to stay strong, stay positive,” she said.

Chauke said the distribution would also serve as an opportunity to encourage vendors to explore other avenues of making a living post the lockdown.

“Hopefully, by the time the lockdown is lifted, and we are back to normal, they will be able to make a living again. This is also an opportunity to encourage them to look at other avenues of making money, as a lot of things are going digital,” added Chauke.