Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga yesterday committed himself to matching every rand raised by informal traders up to R1 million from the office of the executive mayor’s discretionary fund towards the Informal Trader Bursary Fund.
He encouraged informal traders to continue knocking on relevant doors to raise funds for their children’s future.
Last week, informal traders protested outside the city’s department of economic development, asking for progress on the fund.
The bursary fund was initiated by the previous administration to address informal traders’ concerns over lack of educational funding for their children, which resulted in generational poverty.
“This great initiative was unfortunately abused by the previous administration to score political points at the expense of poor citizens.
“As a commitment, I hereby pledge, from the mayor’s discretionary fund, to match every R1 million raised by informal traders. This is to demonstrate my support for them and to say let’s join hands and work together to break this cycle of poverty by empowering the youth,” Msimanga said.
He added that the fund management structure was not thoroughly thought through by the former administration.
“An adjudication committee established after the fund was launched, to be responsible for the selection criteria, was rejected by the informal traders committee as they expected all the qualifying applicants to be funded.
“Therefore, there was no agreed criteria as to who qualified and who didn’t. This is also an aspect of the fund we will look to standardise,” the mayor said.
At the beginning of 2016, the then mayor, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, used the mayoral fund to the tune of R3.2 million to fund the tuition fees of all the informal trader bursary fund applicants.