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Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality says it is committed to growing informal traders

Sep 28, 2017
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality says it is committed to growing informal traders

In the wake of claims by the African National Congress (ANC) in the Nelson Mandela Bay last week that the Democratic Alliance (DA) -led Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality had embarked on an unlawful crack down on street vendors and informal traders, the municipality's Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture (EDTA) department on Thursday said that it is committed to their growth.

The party said that it had been informed by street vendors that the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality had warned them that they will be evicted from the stalls they are operating.

"Informal Trade is, for many South Africans, the alternative to unemployment. Statistics South Africa found that there were 1 517 000 Informal Businesses in 2013," said Themba Xathula, ANC Nelson Mandela Bay Regional Secretary.

"With this in mind, informal traders as recognized by (SALGA), be viewed as an important part of government's strategies to address unemployment, support livelihood creation and reduce vulnerability.

"Traders without permits are left without the ability to continue their businesses after many have been trading in the CBD for over 20 years.

"In the CBD , the traders are not interested in gaining power or benefiting from the process, instead it is an issue of the livelihoods of traders that have been affected tremendously. Traders need to trade where there are feet and not on an island.

"Currently 80% of the traders deal with curios, and most of them are foreign nationals."

However, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Portfolio Councillor for Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture, Andrew Whitfield, said that on 20 and 21 June 2017, the EDTA convened a workshop with the relevant stakeholders including, but not limited to internal Municipal Directorates and Institutions such as Informal Trading Associations, Nelson Mandela University, SALGA, South Africa Rights Institute (SARI), Municipal Institute of Learnership and Education (MILE) and Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, to discuss ways in which the challenges faced by both Informal Traders and the NMBM could be resolved.

"Taking into consideration the overarching challenge confronting informal traders and the NMBM, the aim is to robustly explore street trading in the context of the informal economy," he added.

"In doing so, the aspiration of EDTA is to achieve a mind-set shift in differentiating ‘enforcement’ from ‘management’ and thus, a distinction between the policies and by-laws will be clearly articulated as one (by-laws) being inward-looking, and the other (Informal Trading Policy) being more outward-looking.

"It is against this background that EDTA committed to develop an Informal Trading policy that will encompass a clear and broader developmental framework with the overall approach to educate and empower Informal Traders."

Whitfield said that the EDTA's stance on Informal Trading and the key principles  for  the NMBM’s  Informal Trading policy is to provide for the right to engage in informal trading; to establish informal trading areas and informal trading sites\bays on municipal property (demarcation); to provide for the granting of trading permits to trade on municipal property; to restrict and prohibit informal trading in certain areas in line with existing by-laws; to regulate the conduct of informal traders; to regulate informal trading at special events; to provide for measures to ensure health and safety of all Nelson Mandela Bay Citizens.

He outilned the progress made to date below;

a)      EDTA had fast tracked the process of policy development and a draft Informal Trading Policy has been developed and consultations with relevant Stakeholders including Informal Trading Associations will commence on the week of 2 October 2017.

b)      The draft policy will  be presented to various Municipal Structures for comments and inputs starting with the Executive Management Committee to be held on the 2 October 2017.

c)       The policy will be presented for adoption through various Council Committees starting with the EDTA Standing Committee to be held on the 19 October 2017 targeting final adoption by Council in November.

d)      The Executive Mayor has instructed a stop to all evictions of Informal Traders and an Inter-departmental structure known as Informal Trading Management Committee has been established to amongst other things identify sites for Informal Trading and develop Informal Trading Plans, consider Informal trading applications.

e)      An Informal Trading Office to be manned by the Informal Trading Official within EDTA has been established. The office will receive and forward all applications to the Informal Trading  Management Committee for consideration and provide interim permits on approved applications. The long term permits can only be provided once the policy has been approved by Council.

f)       The first meeting for the Informal Trading Committee will be held Friday, 29 September with the aim to start dealing with applications as from the week of 2 October 2017.

g)      The application forms for registration and permits have been developed and will be available for Informal Traders as from 2 October 2017 from EDTA offices on the 7th Floor, Kwantu Towers. Contact: Ms Lulama Mxenge, email: lmxenge@mandelametro.gov.za and Ms Andisiwe Matiwane, email: amatiwane@mandelametro.gov.za telephone; 041 503 7502 or 041 5037500.

h)      The Informal Trading Office will amongst other things also look at providing the necessary support for Informal Traders including the Infrastructural Support, Capacity Development including training in various aspects of business.