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2011-04-13: One Voice Hawkers' march purely opportunistic

THE City of Johannesburg is disappointed that the One Voice of all Hawkers Association (OVHA) chose to march today despite being part of the City's Informal Trade Forum (ITF) that regularly meets to discuss informal trade issues.

This Forum is a formal Council approved structure that allows for interaction to resolve issues, promote trade, facilitate education and training and address traders' concerns.

The memorandum handed over today largely contains the very issues under discussion in the ITF. The traders that were marching are those that are currently trading illegally and are demanding to be formalized where they are trading irrespective of bylaw violations.

The City's bylaws are very clear on where trade can be conducted in the City and these are enforced by a specially trained unit of the Joburg Metro Police Department. A task team comprising of traders and officials was recently formed to accompany the Unit to understand how, why and where enforcement is done to further ensure that traders are not unfairly harassed.

Any recommendations made by the task team will be considered including reviewing restricting bylaw enforcement clauses and introducing street ambassadors to prevent the setting up of illegal stalls. Trader's leadership including all Hawkers Associations themselves can be part of this initiative.

Through the Forum, OVHA members mostly have already been allocated trading space in correctly demarcated areas. It is as a result of Forum discussions that parts of Lenasia, Alexandra, Dobsonville, Jules, Hancock, Pretoria Streets and parts of Hillbrow. Numerous streets in the inner city have been recently demarcated as trade areas. This is an ongoing project to try and continuously accommodate traders legally.

Ninety five percent of traders in the City operate legally and Council assists with necessary facilities. The City has however become aware of South African citizens who sublet their stalls to foreign nationals and is putting measures in place to prevent this. The City legally allocates trading space in accordance with the council approved informal trading policy.

Certain criteria have to be met before trading space is allocated and demarcation requires extensive consultation with stakeholders that may be affected.


Issued by:
Virgil James
Communications Specialist
City of Joburg
011 407 7226
082 467 9415