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MANZINI – It appears that the partial 20-day lockdown happened early for Manzini-based hawkers who ply their trade by selling second-hand clothing.

This is because police yesterday forced them to lock down their businesses and vacate their stalls effective immediately until further notice. This comes shortly after the Prime Minister (PM), Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini, on Tuesday, announced that His Majesty King Mswati III had commanded government to introduce a partial lockdown. He said this would be with effect from Friday, March 27, 2020. The PM, however, clarified that this would occur at midnight on Friday, which means therefore that Saturday would be the official day that it starts. According to the premier, the lockdown will be for 20 days. 

  In an interview with some of the women who survive through selling the second-hand clothes, they revealed that they were unhappy with the law enforcers closing their businesses.
A hawker, who only identified herself as LaNhleko, said she went to Maputo, Mozambique to purchase stock for this week and little did she know that she would succumb to such catastrophe, wherein, she was forced to vacate her workstation. According to LaNhleko, she and her colleagues were of the view that the police should have issued a notice to them, prior to the order to vacate their stalls. This, she said, could have played a pivotal role in ensuring that they would  not incur losses as they would have suspended their trip to Mozambique to purchase the stock for this week.


According to LaNhleko, the lockdown of their businesses transpired at the wrong time as it coincidentally happened around month-end, whereby they were expected to pay rent and settle other liabilities. “How on earth are we expected to pay our rent this month now that our businesses have been stopped from operating?” she asked. Furthermore, she pointed out that in anticipation of the upcoming 20-day partial lockdown as announced by the PM, they were hoping to use the profits they would make this week to buy items such as food and other essentials. LaNhleko said most of them made a living by selling the second- hand clothes, which was their only source of income and they had no other means of generating income.  
She further lamented that the lockdown would not only affect them financially, but emotionally and psychologically.



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