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​Hundreds of informal traders from across Johannesburg flocked to Jorrisen Place in Braamfontein on the first day of the three-days allocated by the City to apply for a trading permit during the 21-day lockdown.

The application process kick-started on Monday, 6 and will run until Wednesday, 8 April 2020 between 9am and 4pm at Jorrisen Place on 66 Jorissen Street, Braamfontein.

This comes in light of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s recent amendment of regulations governing the 21-day lockdown; with the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs now permitting spaza-shops and street vendors to trade provided they obtain a permit from their ward councillor or municipality.

The City’s Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Economic Development, Councillor Lloyd Phillips said despite being oversubscribed, the application process was progressing smoothly.

“We have put systems and capacity in place to make sure that this process runs smoothly. We don’t want people to stand in queues for a long time,” MMC Phillips explained.

Traders applying for municipal permits need to meet the following requirements:

Only food traders (Fruits and vegetables) may apply;
Only traders with a CoJ Certificate of Acceptability (COA) from the Environmental Health Department in their possession are eligible for permits;
Traders must have a proof of trading (JPC statement/smart card);
A valid identity document and ID/passport photo is required to produce the permit.

Lucas Boloka, who runs a fruit and vegetable stall in the Roodepoort CBD, welcomed interventions by the City to allow informal traders to continue transacting during the 21-day national lockdown.

“My family depends on me for food and all essentials and the past couple of days have been quite difficult because I wasn’t making any money. It’s going to take some time for my business to recover from this,” said the 38 year-old.

Another informal trader, Virginia Khalushi said even though she was granted a permit, it remained uncertain if she would make enough money to pay for all her expenses.

“The President announced a lockdown just as I had bought a new stock of fruits and vegetables, I ended up giving it to people for free because it was going to get rotten. It’s really painful because I have lost a lot of money​, but what can I do?” she asked.

The City is working with stakeholders from various sectors to ramp up the enforcement of compliance measures to public health orders for the 21-day lockdown. This is meant to prevent contraventions of the Disaster Management Act and contain further transmissions of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Regulations of the Act provide for spaza-shops and supermarkets to only trade-in essential goods, however, it prohibits the transportation and sale of liquor, cigarettes and other merchandise.

Written by Takalani Sioga