Informal traders march against City’s regeneration programme

An informal trader with a placard during the informal traders march on Friday. PHOTO Rudy Nkgadima

THE City’s regeneration program to clampdown on illegal activity in an effort to clean up the CDB areas, reclaim public spaces and bring law and order to the public realm has been slammed by informal traders in the city. The traders claim the new regulations are aimed at depriving them from earning a living. In an attempt to voice their concerns, the Market Users Committee (MUC), supported by various civic organisations marched to the Durban city centre on Friday to draw attention to the issues they raised.

Addressing the scores of traders in attendance, chairperson of MUC Nico Magwaza said: “The City refused to work with traders to find a solution. Their plan was first introduced to traders as a ‘clean-up’ and a bid to create ‘safer places’ in the city. Instead it is violating the rights of these people who depend on selling on the streets. There are people who have been street vendors for more than 15 years but still do not have permits. The allocation procedure is blatantly corrupt and needs to stop.”

According to a statement released by eThekwini Municipality, the month of June saw continued intensified operations to deter illegal activity in an effort to clean up the CDB areas, reclaim public spaces and bring law and order to the public realm. The enforcement is part of an effort to regenerate and renew the CBD areas which are key economic hubs.

“Zone support officers’ conduct daily walkabouts in the Durban inner city to address the challenges faced by both residents and businesses. Illegal trading, vagrants and illegal dumping has been drastically reduced in the Durban inner city. As a long term regeneration strategy, the Municipality will deal with issues of security, crime and grime while addressing problem buildings. Residents and business are urged to play their part in ensuring that we live in a clean and safe environment by practicing proper waste management,” said Viren Sookdeo from the Inner City Thekwini Regeneration and Urban Management Programme (iTrump).

Meanwhile, Abahlali base Mjondolo has laid the blame on the ANC and accused it of growing rich off impoverished people through corruption and political gangsterism. “They continue to try and divide us by race and ethnicity. Death threats remain the order of the day whenever anyone stands up for honesty and justice. Our movement continues to face serious and credible threats,” said Abahlali’s Thapelo Mohapi.

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“The Mayor of eThekwini continues to present a clear and present danger to us. She is currently on a mission to evict street traders who survive by selling on the streets in Durban. The Mayor is embarking on a ‘clean up’ campaign. We know this language. Again and again violent attacks on impoverished people and migrants are spoken of as if we are rubbish to be cleaned off the streets and out of the cities. The current ‘clean up’ campaign by the Mayor is leaving people destitute. Street traders are organising and standing up for their dignity and their livelihoods,” said Mohapi.

MUC also demanded that a commission of inquiry be held into the allocation policy for trading sites and allocation procedures.The group handed over memorandums to the mayor’s office and the office of the provincial minister for economic development‚ tourism and environmental affairs.

 

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  AUTHOR
Rudy Nkgadima

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