The City of Johannesburg was committed to the development of a diverse informal trading sector by creating viable trading spaces for them, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Development Planning and Urban Management Councillor Roslyn Greeff said this week.
The MMC was speaking at a meeting at Metro Centre in Braamfontein on Tuesday April 26 to bring informal traders up to speed with the outcomes of the processes that had taken place to formulate a viable economic programme for the City.
The meeting followed a two-phase consultation process involving all stakeholders – including informal traders themselves, public transport operators, property owners, formal businesses and residents – during which the City shared its approach to informal trading and solicited their views on how its objectives could be met and the needs of the various stakeholders balanced.
MMC Greeff said the City was committed to developing the informal trading sector to be commercially viable and well-managed and to ensuring that Johannesburg became a lively city in which all people could live, work and play.
She said after receiving all the inputs, the City conducted feasibility studies on traffic impact on mobility and dedicated managed lanes. This was to ensure the City made informed and balanced decisions in the identification of streets and areas to be designated for trading. MMC Greeff said consultation with property and business owners indicated that they embraced informal trading as an integral part of the economy. However, she said, they had a problem with the way traders conducted their business. Littering, unsanitary conditions and criminal activities dissuaded potential investors, they said.
For their part, residents insisted on better bylaw enforcement and the banning of trading in front of homes. The MMC said transport operators were happy about the construction of the Kaserne transit station and the decking of the railway project.
“Informal trading is often the first rung of the economic ladder and the catalyst for sustainable entrepreneurship growth. The importance of the sector cannot be overemphasised.
“We thus want to see an end-product that supports the City’s Growth Development Strategy 2040 (GDS 2040) principles of an inclusive City economy that affords meaningful livelihoods among its diverse citizens, especially the marginalised,” Greeff said.
Xolani Nxumalo, the City’s Deputy Director: Informal Trading said the City was in the process of establishing an informal trading forum to act as a sctructure to solve sector issues. Nxumalo said the forum would meet quarterly. It would also look at a new allocation system, re-register traders and issue them with new smart cards. He said trading would only be permitted in designated and demarcated areas.
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