Informal trading a booster

Keith Blake, Ottery

I have written numerous letters in relation to the issue of informal trading, especially here in the heart of the Cape Flats but somehow the City lacks the momentum and passion to pick up this proposal banner.

Informal trading is a major boost for reducing unemployment, creating self employment business opportunity enter-
prises and giving
people a sense of dignity.

I have had officials burdened with this portfolio and a personal visit to my home and the impression one gets is that the bridle in the horse’s mouth is pulled to the back of the throat as there seems to be limited spaces.Yet riding through Wynberg yesterday, it seems as if the whole of Wynberg’s pavements are clustered with informal business run by locals and foreign citizens.

I am again asking why these informal trading opportunities are so limited to the neighbourhoods, where citizens can create informal, regulated business.

Why are the councillors not being encouraged and advised to call community meetings which City officials can advise and encourage informal trading, not forgetting even the forming of co-operatives.

The City must now really and truly come on board to push for the establishments of informal trading owned by the disadvantaged locals. If it can be done in Wynberg, why not in the suburbs.

Many of us support these informal traders as they give us cheap products and please do not use the excuse of the flea-markets
as a replacement because it is not. Only people who have vehicles can be entertained here, not Mina and Mike living on South African Social Security Agency grants.

* Eddie Andrews, mayoral committee member for area south, responds: “The City’s Area-based Service Delivery Directorate takes a proactive and developmental approach with regard to informal trading. This is encapsulated in its Informal Trading Policy and Informal Trading By-law.

The City has also developed an online web portal whereby informal trading bays, as soon as they are vacant, can be advertised on the City of Cape Town’s Informal Trading Permitting Portal so that aspiring traders can apply for these vacant trading bays. These applications are considered promptly to allow vacant trading bays to be occupied as soon as possible.

Given this approach, informal trading plans were developed in the greater Cape Flats area to create 1 587 dedicated opportunities for informal traders. This means that 1 587 informal traders have dedicated informal trading bays with security of tenure for their informal trading business.

This also means that it is clear from the informal trading plan where one can and cannot trade, and this is embedded in the Gazette, thus giving a clear directive in terms of the usage of the public space.

In reference to the Ottery, Grassy Park and Lotus River areas, there are 58 dedicated informal trading opportunities. As soon as these trading bays become vacant they are advertised on the City’s Informal Trading Permitting Portal so that aspiring traders can immediately apply.

When an informal trading plan is developed, part of the process is a comprehensive consultative process with the affected informal traders, formal traders, communities, as well as all the
affected City line departments such as transport, spatial planning, urban design and area economic development.

Sub-council 18 has requested that the current informal trading plan for Ward 65 be reviewed and that a review be conducted to explore whether additional informal trading bays can be added to the existing trading plan.

The review process is currently under way and will be subject to an inclusive public participation process. Once the statutory and public participations and consultations
have taken place, a report will be
submitted to the sub-council, mayoral committee and
council for consideration.