It has always been difficult to accurately measure the size of the informal sector in the South African economy. Estimates put the informal sector at between 7 and 13% of the total economy. Given the unacceptably high levels of unemployment, the City of Joburg recognises the valuable role that the informal sector plays in providing large numbers of our residents with a means to feed themselves and their families.
Due to the very nature of street trading and hawking arriving at a solution that satisfies all stakeholders, from trader to taxi associations as well as residents and business owners, can prove difficult. Admittedly, the city in the past has fallen down when it comes to consistent implementation of agreed plans of action and the ineffective management of this sector resulted in strained relationships and immersed the City in unnecessary litigation.
We have sought to remedy these problems by embarking on a process to produce a new street trader policy that involves the input of all affected parties. The Department of Economic Development began by consulting with all trader and hawker associations in order to understand their requirements and historical problems.
Simultaneously, regional investigations were conducted to identify additional areas for traders and hawkers. This process also involved a comprehensive head count of traders per region.
This consultative process has now been completed and a draft policy has been submitted for legal scrutiny. The final policy is planned to serve before council in March of 2019. By January of next year we will have procured our new permit system and will also be able to commence budgeting for new ablution facilities to service traders. The new policy, together with improved resources, will empower the city to support and regulate trading in a more consistent manner.