Risky business to trade

2017-07-11 06:01
No plans are in place for informal traders, like Roland Anthony’s stall (pictured), in ward 44.PHOTO: Earl Haupt

No plans are in place for informal traders, like Roland Anthony’s stall (pictured), in ward 44.PHOTO: Earl Haupt

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Fruit and vegetable stalls have sprouted on street corners in and around Heide­veld recently.

For some it is a welcome and convenient sight, while for others it poses a potential risk.

“I have noticed the number of informal trading spots which is opening in the ward. In most cases it is people who are occupying City of Cape Town land illegally,” says ward councillorAnthony Moses.

Roland Anthony is one such informal trader. He started trading along Klipfontein Road a few months ago after reaching wit’s end in an attempt to find a new job.

“The reason we are out here trading is because it is difficult to find jobs. We’ve thrown in countless CVs at many companies, but it is so difficult to get a job.

“We have been standing here for two months and we have asked for premises and a permit since last year. We are following the process and we are on the City’s list for a permit,” says Anthony.

Anthony sought Moses’s help, who in turn referred him to the informal trading office.

“If Law Enforcement comes here we have been asked to refer them to [the informal trading office]. So we are just waiting for a place [to trade]. They are busy putting the application in motion. They confirmed to us that we are under no threat of being removed. The councillor said that he could not do anything, but when we went to the informal trading office, they helped us,” he says.

Meanwhile, Moses says the traders in Ascension and Duinefontein roads are on a month-to-month permit. Although they are allowed to trade, it does not necessarily mean other stalls are now allowed to open up shop too.

“The most recent two [stalls] have occupied space without getting the City’s permission and now they are seeking to legitimise the business in terms of the necessary permit application for which they have applied.

“But like any other area, like Gatesville, there needs to be dedicated, marked bays in terms of where people can trade and which are numbered. They are being charged in terms of the informal trading policy of the City.

“What is important is that in the absence of an informal trading plan, it becomes challenging because there might be a particular spot that might belong to a private owner or it might belong to the City properties department or a particular line department,” says Moses.

He explains that when traders occupy random sites, they normally do not adhere to the necessary health and safety precautions that need to be in place.

“The other challenge is that you might place your stall at a particular space where there are underlying services such as sewerage pipes or live electric cables. What if something happens to that person at that spot? 

“The risk is that the City will be held accountable, should anything happen. In this case it is always important to make sure where people want to trade, whether there are safe places for them to trade,” he adds.

Moses says he has directed his request to come up with an informal trading plan to the informal trading unit for the last three months, but to no avail.

“We will have to see how we can make use of our parks, so it is not only for people who are trading on a road reserve, but also parks in between the flats in Heideveld and to have a plan in place where people can trade legitimately. 

“I have to follow up again who has been assigned for our area, to speed up the process,” says Moses. 

He says he is not against people trading, and admits seeing the value and economic benefit of informal traders.

“What I am going to do within the next week is to call all the traders in with the relevant line department.

“This is to find out how do we find middle ground in terms of this process, so that they can have a platform where they can voice themselves, so that we can also understand where they are at in terms of their business and making a livelihood from it. 

“The other thing is that people knew before they went to trade, the type of risk that they were putting themselves in.”

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