Guarantee Warwick market site for future generations of market gardeners and informal traders!!!

24 July 2009

The eThekwini Municipality has announced that they intend to demolish the Warwick Early Morning Market on the 31st July 2009, and in its place they want to give a 50-year lease to private property developers to build another capitalist mall. The traders in the Early Morning Market (and surrounding areas, including Warwick Junction, Berea Station, Brook Street, the Herb Market, and others) have been strongly resisting the demolition of this unique market precinct. Their resistance has been met with Metro Police using tear gas, rifles and rubber bullets.

Despite the Municipality`s assurances that they have provided an alternative space, it is a temporary space that is unlikely to cater for all the 8 000 to 10 000 informal traders who risk losing their livelihoods if this unique market precinct is replaced by a capitalist mall. The Municipality has made many verbal promises in their attempts to get traders to accept their deal, but they have not yet committed their detailed plan (with maps, numbers and continuity arrangements for all involved) in writing or made it public to all in the interests of transparency and accountability. They are attempting to create the impression that informal traders have agreed to move to the proposed new site – but the evidence on the ground (and the excessive use of force by the Metro Police) shows this is not true.

Studies have shown that the proposed replacement of this unique market precinct by a capitalist retail mall will result in the prices of goods to be bought in this area will increase by over 100% on average. This will affect the food security of all the poor communities in and around Durban, who buy their food from vendors in the township taxi ranks who presently get their goods more cheaply from informal traders in the Warwick Market precinct.

We call on all members of the public – workers (formal and informal), community members, women struggling to sustain households, students and youth – to come out in force to show the eThekwini Municipality your opposition to this proposed elitist development. There will be a Press Conference on Wednesday 29th July and pickets around the Warwick Market precinct and City Hall up to the 31st July. Watch the press and listen to the radio for more details.

No demolition of Warwick markets!!
No land theft and forced removals!!
No to Racism – forward to a truly non-racial Durban!!
Nothing for us without us!!
Walala, wasala!!

Issued by:

World Class Cities for All (WCCA) campaign Task Team

StreetNet International; COSATU; SAMWU; SATAWU; SANCO; SACP; ACHIB; The Eye Street Traders Association; Siyagunda Association; Early Morning Market Association; Social Movements Indaba. Tel.031 307 4038