- The City of Cape Town's mayoral committee has approved a proposal to grant amnesty to existing traders.
- The proposal was approved at the City's inaugural mayco committee meeting, held at the Cravenby Community Centre.
- But the South African Informal Traders Alliance said the proposal was too little, too late.
The City of Cape Town's mayoral committee has approved a proposal to grant amnesty to informal traders struggling to pay their permit fees.
The amnesty was approved at the City's inaugural mayco committee meeting, held at the Cravenby Community Centre on Tuesday.
The meeting was aimed at bringing the City closer to the people. It formed part of Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis' promise for greater transparency, with residents being able to engage with officials during meetings.
Mayoral committee member for urban development Grant Twigg said the Covid-19 pandemic and its restrictions have disproportionately harmed the informal trading sector in the country.
A report tabled at the mayco meeting stated that the Area Economic Development Directorate had been inundated with requests for informal trading permit fee relief by the informal trading sector since the implementation of Covid-19 regulations.
Informal traders across Cape Town have been raising concerns about their inability to pay their permit fees due to the negative impact of lockdown and subsequent restrictions.
"The economic fortunes of the informal trading sector directly depend on the daily retail footfall of customers for earnings and survival. Put differently, the Covid-19 pandemic and its accompanying restrictions drastically reduced the demand side, especially the customers for the informal traders," Twigg added.
The mayoral committee approved informal trading permit fee relief to active informal traders for the period January 2022 to 30 June 2022, when no informal trading tariffs will be payable to the City.
It also announced that all informal trading permit fees paid in advance will be credited to informal traders' trading accounts, said Twigg.
The relief will, however, be subject to final approval at the next council meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, 15 December.
Twigg said government restrictions on the movement of people to curb the spread of Covid-19 had unintended consequences for the informal trading sector, including traders experiencing a massive loss of income and others being entirely taken out of business.
He said the economic crisis was further deepened by some aspects of the national Covid-19 regulations restricting trading in certain types of goods.
The South African Informal Traders Alliance (Saita) said the proposal was too little, too late.
Yolanda October, chairperson of the Kuils River Informal Traders Association and provincial secretary of Saita, said many traders had accumulated debt and were unable to pay permit fees.
"We understand the amnesty is for six months, but what about the rest of the months? Our traders have been unable to pay their permit fees because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and some traders pay up to R500 per month," she said.
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