‘Removed’ street vendors to protest

2017-10-18 06:03
Unoccupied stands in Church Street since street vendors were removed by the municipality. PHOTO: lethiwe makhanya

Unoccupied stands in Church Street since street vendors were removed by the municipality. PHOTO: lethiwe makhanya

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“THE municipality will not get rid of us just like that. We will not stand for it,” said a Pietermaritzburg CBD street vendor who, with others, will take protest action against the Msunduzi Municipality tomorrow after forcing them to relocate.

Street vendors in the Pietermaritzburg CBD are demanding their operating spots back after the municipality removed them on Monday October 9.

The municipality gave letters to vendors on Church Street, between Peter Kerchhoff and Boshoff streets ordering them to vacate their stands as they are no longer allowed to operate along these roads. They were told to move to the Emgodini taxi rank.

The street vendors said they have permits, but when they went to pay for their renewal at the municipality, they were told the permits were
“frozen”.

Nomahlubi Zungu spoke to Maritzburg Fever and said they will march to the Pietermaritzburg City Hall tomorrow (Thursday) where they will submit a memorandum.

Zungu said the municipality failed to communicate with the vendors before serving them with the letters.

“They cannot just tell us we have to leave our stands, we have permits that we have paid for
prior to them being frozen. We want answers from the municipality as to why they removed us.

“They always encourage us to continue with our small businesses, but now they are removing us, why?

“How are we going to feed our children? The letter the municipality gave to us states that the crime rate is high, which is why they are removing us. Are we the one’s who are committing crimes? When did selling goods on streets became a crime?

“We only come to the CBD in the morning, set up our stalls and go home at about 5pm.”

The municipality’s Dr Ray Ngcobo, general manager of Economic Development, said the street vendors were removed because of “CBD decay”.

“The Peter Kerchhoff to Boshoff streets and along Church Street has compelled us as city planners to review land use patterns permitted in the CBD.

“It has become practically impossible to accommodate street trading in the identified areas because we should not allow formal traders to compete with the informal traders for the same goods, especially because informal traders do not have the necessary support infrastructure for waste disposal,” said Dr
Ngcobo.

“Street traders are outlawed in the CBD precinct, especially next to provincial and municipal key points such as Pietermaritzburg City Hall, the high court and municipal buildings. We have extended this land use change to include Church Street and Peter Kerchhoff Street.”

He said managers will talk to the street traders to identify alternative places for them.

Ngcobo said the stands that were used by the removed street vendors will be scrapped and new enforcement measures will be implemented.

He said they will be launching another campaign to clean the CBD downtown and Pietermaritz Street.

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