Thirty-three informal traders, who previously operated under make-shift stalls at the Ezimbuzini Precinct in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal, now have a new and improved trading facility.
eThekwini Municipality has constructed an automotive hub and informal trading stalls, at the cost of R22 million. The development is the first of its kind in the country to house and formalise the informal trading sector.
The project forms part of the municipality’s efforts to accelerate the township economy.
“Umlazi is one of the critical economic nodes in eThekwini and the municipality will continue to invest millions to ensure that the economic spin-offs of the city are spread throughout the municipality,” says eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda.
In keeping with the municipality’s Radical Economic Transformation Programme developed in 2018, eThekwini sub-contracted 16 local construction businesses for the project, creating 50 local jobs.
“This facility is in line with the government’s Industrialisation Strategy to support small enterprises, including black industrialists in townships and rural areas, to create decent jobs where people live,” says Kaunda.
The investment also supports locally produced goods and services and promotes the Buy Local Campaign.
Nelisiwe Zulu has had a stall for 12 years at Ezimbuzini.
“It’s always been a challenge trading here, especially on rainy days. People would avoid coming here because it was dirty, but now we have a beautiful and clean facility,” she says.
Another trader, Jacob Mngomezulu, says it is encouraging being part of the programmes eThekwini rolls out.
“There is nothing that makes you feel like the government is working, than witnessing development. This is what we call service delivery. We have seen it and we are looking forward to the business training we have been told about, which will see us do better trade,” he says.