Tshwane hawkers want attractive streets

2014-01-21 16:33

The Tshwane Informal Traders’ Forum (Titfo) wants to turn the streets of the City of Tshwane into attractive areas for tourists and locals and has appealed for calm among street traders in the wake of anger that has followed the death of a hawker.

The forum has also extended an olive branch to a rival association, the Tshwane Barekisi Forum, to work together to ensure that no other street hawker dies after the shooting of Forster Rivombo two weeks ago, allegedly at the hands of the city’s metro police.

Titfo held a press conference today with the Tshwane Nafcoc, the Tshwane Micro Entrepreneurs’ League and the Tshwane Informal Traders’ Council (Titco) at which they admitted that the city’s permit system could not accommodate all hawkers.

They have also appealed to all street traders to attend meetings organised to end the tension between rival organisations and the city.

Titfo president Life Makondo called on all street traders, including those who are operating without a permit, not to crowd the city’s streets and drive potential buyers away.

Makondo said angry street traders – who had threatened to make the city ungovernable, claiming that they were being harassed by metro police – should form cooperatives to accommodate those who cannot acquire permits.

He said the city could not accommodate everyone because many sellers wanted to sell in places that were already oversubscribed.

Makondo said threats were not going to help anybody and the only way forward was to work together to ensure everyone who wanted to trade was operating with a permit or included in a cooperative.

“We can’t be threatened after we fought for a policy of informal traders to be finalised by the city. We also fought for proper licensing and the city did exactly that. We need everyone to be on board to help us make this city beautiful,” said Makondo.

One of their objectives for this year was to remove all criminals who pretended to be hawkers but committed crime, said Makondo.

Titco president Phillip Lethuba said the most important thing was to ensure that the city was clean and that those who had permits worked without hindrance.

“We want a beautiful city where our people will not be afraid to go. We want a city that will draw tourists who visit here to come and buy from street traders. We are encouraging those who want permits, but cannot get them, to form cooperatives because once everything is in place, everyone will be catered for. We have bigger plans that we can’t share at the moment because we want to share with the street traders first,” said Lethuba.

Makondo and Lethuba said that the number of illegal street traders exceeded the number of hawkers with permits.

Strike Sebake, leader of the Tshwane Micro Entrepreneurs’ League, said 20-year-old Rivombo, who was buried at his home in Giyani on Sunday, did not have a permit.

Read: Dead street trader’s family: ANC ditched us

Sebake was critical of political parties that had used Rivombo’s death for political gain.

“We don’t want politicians to use his death or the plight of street traders to score political points as has been happening. We discourage political interference as it does not assist in bringing a solution to the problem. Their only interest is to increase membership in their respective organisations,” said Sebake.

While the leaders could not say how many illegal or legal traders there were in the city as the process of licensing was still ongoing, they said only 300 street traders had permits for Nana Sita Street (formerly Skinner Street) and 100 had permits to operate in Church Street.

They called for all traders with permits not to sub-let their spaces or permits to anybody else and not to move away from stalls they had been allocated as this worsened the situation.

To prevent another death, the leaders urged hawkers to honour their monthly payments to the city and to only operate if they had a licence.

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