Calls for City of Cape Town to be more lenient with informal traders by-law
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Cape Town - ANC spokesperson for Economic Opportunities, Nomi Nkondlo, has condemned the City’s “draconian” informal trading by-laws that she said were undermining the ability of informal traders to survive in these tough economic times.
Nkondlo said this following a meeting with the leadership of informal traders’ organisations on Wednesday.
The meeting happened while a fruit and veg trader in Goodwood was given a warning by law enforcement officers for “over-trading and trading in the wrong bay”.
Nkondlo said the organisations raised concerns that she said formed part of the organisations submissions to the City as it was currently reviewing its Informal Trading by-law. She said informal traders in municipalities must get the same fair treatment given to big business.
“Draconian and inhuman treatment by law enforcement to informal traders and the use of extreme force to remove, displace and evict them in their spaces of trade, including in areas where there is no trading plan, and heavy-handed regulation that uses law enforcement with little or no engagement between City officials and traders were some of the concerns raised by the traders,” she said.
Nkondlo said all the matters would be raised with Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier and his department for response and intervention, including the Western Cape Provincial Parliament Standing Committee on Finance, Economic Development and Tourism.
South African Traders’ Alliance president Rashieda Muller said the City was not working for the traders, but against them. Muller said the Goodwood trader did not know what an e-permit was and did not know if he must apply for a permit.
“She said the by-law was draconian and written in favour of the City and against informal traders’ right to trade as per the Constitution.
“Thirteen law enforcement came to him on Wednesday to give him a warning to impound his stock if he doesn’t move. The City is hard on the informal trader, but for big business they bend backwards.
“We are extremely disturbed that throughout the country there is a no-harm policy towards the informal sector, and yet in the City of Cape Town harassment, intimidation and victimisation is still the order of the day. Rules and regulations must not be cast in stone, and there needs to be leniency,” she said.
Muller said the by-law needed to be re-written and that the informal traders’ organisations were busy finalising their submissions.
Mayco Member for Urban Management, Grant Twigg, said the City had been proud of its Informal Trading Policy and by-law and did not believe that it had been accurately represented in the comments.
“The City recognises the significance of informal traders and their contribution to the economy and poverty reduction, and recognises that Informal trading helps with creating employment opportunities that in turn contribute to household incomes.
“Furthermore, while the City is mindful of the economic challenges faced by traders during this difficult period, law and order still needs to be maintained at both municipal and destination level to ensure the City remains well run and liveable for local residents and visitors alike,” he said.
Grant said only four comments had been received to date, and encouraged stakeholders to submit their comments until April 30.