Street vending, a growing concern

2016-11-15 06:00
A street vendor on Link Road in Hillcrest. Photo: Kalisha Naicker

A street vendor on Link Road in Hillcrest. Photo: Kalisha Naicker

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DRIVING along the streets of the Upper Highway area one is bound to notice a makeshift table with a “vendor” selling anything from fruit and vegetables to pirated CDs and clothes.

Many unemployed people have climbed onto the bandwagon of this illegal phenomenon, with some vendors “opening their business” right on the doorstep of legitimate shops.

Shopkeepers and residents say they “are red in the face” from complaining about the situation as the vendors are popping up everywhere.

SA Community Crime Watch spokesperson Steven King said vendors need to realise that without a trading permit their action is illegal and they can face a hefty fine for this.

“We recently approached a vendor along Link Road and explained the situation to him, however, he would not even hear of it.

“He thinks we are taking away his income, however there are plenty of stores around him that sell the same items, yet they are legitimate and pay rent for their premises.”

King said that although street vendors feel they are making an income for themselves, they fail to realise they are taking away another shop owner’s income by their actions.

“Vendors need to obtain a permit to trade and have a legal place to trade in. We will be clamping down on these traders as they are illegal and an eyesore.”

Sally Govender, a convenience store owner, said she also had a street vendor who “opened up shop” outside her business recently.

“We are near a taxi rank and commuters used to buy sweets and fruit from the vendor and throw the papers or peels on the floor.

“Apart from the vendor selling his stuff illegally, he is also causing a mess as his customers are littering and he is doing nothing about the situation. At the end of the day we are all trying to make ends meet, and just as I pay a licence and rent for my store, I feel vendors should do the same.”

The eThekwini Municipality says it has thousands street vendors across the municipality and that operating without a permit is illegal.

It costs from R110 a month for a street-vending permit.

Once all the documents have been submitted, processing the street-trading permit should be finalised within 30 working days.


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