The City of Johannesburg has extended a hand of friendship to informal traders, inviting them to explore ways of incorporating the sector into the city economy in an orderly way.
Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Economic Development, Ruby Mathang, announced recently that the City would meet inner city hawkers to discuss a long-term development strategy to create an inclusive economy.
From 28 July until 5 August, the City will present its revised approach to informal trading to property and business owners, public transport operators, residents, non-governmental organisations, the courts, the security cluster as well as informal traders.
“At the end of this consultation all comment and inputs will be duly considered and consolidated into a plan for the proclamation and de-proclamation of certain city streets. The plan would be published for written comment over 21 days and the necessary administrative processes followed for council approval and eventually gazetting,” he added.
This follows a ruling by the Constitutional Court which prevented the City from removing informal traders who traded illegally in the streets of the City. The City’s efforts to clean up the inner city included restricting informal traders to designated areas.
“The city wants to embrace all the traders. Informal traders are here to stay and our vision is that street trading is a vital part of the city’s history and a major player in the second economy. We will be involved in a long consultation process with traders and all stakeholders involved. We will be engaging them to ensure that no one is left out,” MMC Mathang added.
“Everyone’s voice needs to be heard, we believe every stakeholder is important.”
Alluding to the current state of informal trading in the inner city, MMC Mathang said since the Constitutional Court issued an interdict that blocked the city and metro police from continuing with its Operation Clean Sweep, there has been an increase in illegal trading, adding that streets are in a chaotic state as hawkers continue to infringe bylaws.
He further indicated that a budget from various departments has been set aside to improve trading facilities and to train traders. “We want traders to move from being informal traders to being formal traders – we are committed to making the sector successful.”