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City gives informal trading a R101 million boost

Written by *Nonduduzo Ngcongo

Local government

For Thandiwe Chiliza, who has been a street trader for over 16 years, being given a trading stall by the eThekwini Municipality to run her business will help her grow as an entrepreneur. 

When handing over the newly-constructed trading stalls to entrepreneurs in KwaJeena – in uMlazi, KwaZulu-Natal, Deputy Mayor of eThekwini Municipality Nomvuzo Shabalala said informal traders can no longer be considered as a temporary phenomenon as they contribute to the City’s economy. 

“The City realised that the sector plays a central role in tackling poverty which is why we set aside R101 million last year to improve the working condition of informal traders in order to formalise the sector,” she said.

The new formal structures for traders have sanitation facilities, electricity, water and security.

Chiliza, one of the traders equipped with proper facilities to run her street trading business, said the trading facilities would grow her business and keep her stock safe.

“When it rained or during winter when it was cold we were forced to pack our goods and go home without making any profit. We also used to walk long distances transporting our goods on trolleys to the warehouse and carrying it back again in the morning.

“We now lock our goods inside the stalls since there is also 24-hour security within the yard,” said Chiliza.

Shabalala added that the Municipality would continue developing this fast-growing sector, which currently has 42 700 registered informal traders. She said the development was part of the City’s programme to contribute to urban management and regulation.

“Besides the provision of infrastructure, the Municipality runs programmes to train and develop informal traders in the fields of business and financial management in order to grow their businesses. The project is on-going in other areas.

“This project will have a great impact on street traders because the improved trading conditions will attract more customers and they will be able to trade under any weather conditions,” said Shabalala.

The Municipality does not allow people to trade informally without a trading permit from the City.

A permit can cost anything between R264 to R1 128 per year to own a street-vending permit within the Municipality, depending on whether the applicant wants a sheltered place or is happy operating on the side of the road.

What you need to apply for a permit: 

  • You need to write an application letter that states the goods that will be sold.
  • Explain what will be used to conduct the business, such as a cart, tables or marquee.
  • Include the applicant’s address and telephone number in order for the Municipality to give a response.
  • Provide the Municipality with a letter from the owner of the building that the applicant wishes to trade next to.
  • Include a copy of the applicant’s identity document.

This information will be directed to the manager in charge of the area applied for; site inspections will then be done and authorisation given if there are no objections. Site inspections will evaluate whether the area complies with all relevant requirements, such as road traffic requirements and health regulations.

Once all the documents are submitted, the processing of the street-trading permit normally takes around 30 working days. The applicant is notified either telephonically or via post.

For more information on how or where to apply for a permit, visit: www.durban.gov.za or call the eThekwini Municipality.

*Nonduduzo Ngcongo works for the eThekwini Municipality.