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Where there is customer demand, informal trading will go. The City is seeking to properly manage the industry through setting up its successful linear markets outside the central business district.
WITH linear markets working successfully in the inner city, the City of Johannesburg will roll out similar projects in other areas at a cost of R60-million.


A linear market in Hoek StreetA linear market in Hoek StreetIts department of economic development and Johannesburg Property Company has appointed a project team to execute the development of linear markets at Swazi Inn and Kopanong in Ivory Park; at the Pan Africa Shopping Centre in Alexandra; in Orange Farm opposite Pick n Pay; in King George Street in the inner city; at George Goch Hostel in Jeppe; in Berea, Cosmo City and Eldorado Park; and at the Jabulani Mall in Soweto.

“The professional team has … finalised our project plans and developed preliminary draft designs for the purposes of stakeholder engagement, which began on 23 May,” said Jason Ngobeni, the director of economic development.

Between July and September, he added, the City would go out on tender to appoint the most suitable candidate for the construction of the markets, and by November the first structures would be built.

In preparation, the City would “[engage] extensively with all relevant and affected stakeholders, traders, shop owners, property owners and importantly discussing zoning and relocation”.

Linear markets were first established in the inner city as a means to properly manage street trading as well as to ensure that it did not disrupt pedestrian mobility or passing road traffic. The first, on Hoek Street, was opened in March 2010, with traders expressing their delight.

A linear market is an area designated for street trading in a pedestrianised environment. It has attractive roofing that adds to the surrounding aesthetics and urban management design. In Joburg, they work hand-in-hand with a formalised trading environment, in line with the City’s Informal Trading Policy (ITP).


Demarcated stalls in the Joburg CBDDemarcated stalls in the Joburg CBDIn April 2007, the economic development department appointed Michael Hart Architects to conduct a feasibility study on linear markets in the inner city.
The study was conducted at a macro level, where broader issues relating to informal trading infrastructure were documented. It identified a number of streets in the inner city that had the potential to be converted into linear markets.

It also highlighted two possible categories of linear markets that could be developed: covered open roadside markets, and in suburban areas in the form of period, or short-term markets. The former responded to the challenge of street trading, a common feature of the inner city; the latter responded to the challenges of markets on the peripheries of suburban areas.

One of the mechanisms that the ITP is promoting is the creation of sustainable infrastructure, demarcating trading areas and developing programmes that clearly define spaces for informal trading.

However, in reality, informal trading is in demand in areas considered lucrative for trade – those where there are many potential customers. Such designated areas are in short supply, and trading in non-designated areas becomes a problem.

“As such, we regularly have some traders marching to the city or hear complaints of police harassment,” said Ngobeni.

He explained that linear markets would solve many of these issues. In this way, the regulation of the informal sector would be linked to better management and support functions in partnership with all stakeholders.

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