Abandon permits for sand sculptors

Mthokozisi Mnguni, who has been building sand sculptures at the beach for over eight years, said the permit fee makes life difficult for them.

EDITOR – This harks back to an article published in the Berea Mail of 17 February 2017 in which a discussion appeared about the Municipality’s mean decision to make the beach sand sculptors pay a permit fee.

When questioned, the Municipality went into defence mode and said that the sand sculptors are charged via “the Informal Trade Tariffs passed by eThekwini Municipality and guided by the Informal Trade Policy… Since 2010 sand sculptors fall under Coastal Areas Informal Trading Management and since then sand sculptors have been paying for permits, which are R44 per month and R528 for a year.”

So much dedicated work goes into the creation of the sand sculptures, and these can be swept away by high tides, heavy rain or gusty wind. Their work is a feature of our beachfront and delights visitors. The sculptors earn so little that we should be doing all we can to encourage the contribution they are making. The sculptures have to be touched up every day, even when conditions are good.

Bean counting is entirely inappropriate here. Could someone in charge look at the big picture, please. It is surely not the job of the Coastal Areas Informal Trading Management to wring a rather mean charge like this out of those who are earning a pittance from providing the delightful sand sculptures that intrigue visitors to the beachfront. When one sees the money that is wasted in various ways, there is something mean-spirited about this imposition of a permit charge on people who are earning a pittance for an artistic endeavour that is costing the city nothing. Why would we choose to make things harder for them by reducing their tiny incomes even further?

They are assets to our city. Please support their initiative, citizens of Durban, and require that they be treated with a modicum of generosity of spirit.

Shirley Bell


Berea Mail

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