Memorandum to Mike Mabuyakhulu

18 November 2009

Today a protest mass march was held by Street traders organisations and committees that do not support a Mall development in Warwick as the City is planning. Below is a copy of a memorundum that was presented to the MEC for the Economic and Tourism, Mike Mabuyakhulu. This memorundum was accepted and signed by Leonard Mabaso, Speaker from the office of the minister. +- 3000 traders marched and demonstrated from Curries Fountain to outside the City Hall.

Memorandum

Presented to Mike Mabuyakhulu, MEC for the Economic and Tourism, Provincial office on Wednesday 18th November 2009

Unique Warwick precinct informal traders` community

With more than 2,1 million working people and turnover exceeding R32 billion, the "second economy" is a force to be reckoned with. The Early Morning Market and Warwick Junction precinct consists of 7000 - 10000 traders, porters and other informal workers in a unique market community with a 99-year heritage, serving hundreds of thousands of the low-income consumers in the eThekwini municipality.

We, as members of the affected community, object to the eThekwini Municipality`s plans to destroy this unique community and to replace it with yet another monstrous large retailers` mall. Recent developments have seen huge shopping complexes mushroom in every corner including townships, accommodating large retailers such as Pick & Pay, Shoprite, Spar, who are all able to purchase products in bulk directly from manufacturers and producers, and whose goods are affordable to higher-income consumers.

We and other members of the disadvantaged communities of eThekwini have sustained our livelihoods in the Warwick Junction precinct and made a significant contribution to the economy during the troubled political past, while our political resistance played a meaningful role for our democratic government. The market vendors and street vendors are a large community of poor people, whose livelihoods will not survive being replaced by this kind of private capitalist venture.

Lack of consultation and forced removal

We object to the manner in which the eThekwini Municipality has treated street and market traders and the organizations who fight for the rights of poor people. The eThekwini Municipality has taken unilateral decisions which affect our lives negatively, without consulting us. Comrades who serve in the eThekwini Municipality are not following the mandate of the people, i.e. "South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black or white, and no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people." The administration and the approach on this matter constitute the same forced removal for which the Apartheid government was famous.

We are in full agreement with the need to regulate informal trade. However, this must be done in a humane way which respects human rights, including our rights to our livelihoods. We voted for you not only to beautify the City, but also to serve the needs of the people.

We the various Street vendors associations feel that the MEC for the Economic and Tourism, provincial office, Mr. Mike Mabuyakhulu and his team has been undermined by the eThekwini Municipality to such and extent that Business and Markets Support Unit has arranged marches, talk shows, media conferences and picketing outside the High Court not respecting the provincial task team recommendations that issues concerning the Warwick precinct development need to be resolved amicably and transparently.

We therefore demand:

  • Business and Markets Support Unit should be dissolved because it is only supporting major businesses and not small, medium or micro enterprises. It is the duty of the Business and Markers Support Unit to upgrade and develop Informal Traders and small markets;
  • eThekwini Municipality must preserve, promote and support the sustainability of our unique informal trading community in the Warwick Junction precinct, and find somewhere else to build their mall;
  • eThekwini Municipality to upgrade and extend the market in order to accommodate all informal traders under shelter;
  • If eThekwini Municipality genuinely wishes to upgrade the economic activities of informal traders, this should be done by means of cooperative wholesale and bulk purchase initiatives owned and controlled collectively by informal traders, enabling them to eliminate "middlemen" and increase their earned income;
  • Street trading by laws need to be revisited - there should be no impounding of goods;
  • Police harassment to stop - there should be intimidation by police for contact show of permits;
  • eThekwini Municipality must reform informal traders` permit system in agreement with informal traders and their elected representatives, temporary permits to be scrapped - permanent permits should be given to informal traders;
  • Mr Phillip Sithole should be removed from his position as the Head of the Business and Markets Support Unit as he has no vision for the poor informal traders, he supports only the rich capitalist;
  • Full access to the I-Trump Hall as this is a community hall, no informal traders should be denied access to this facility;
  • eThekwini Municipality to get their act together and stop bussing in traders from other areas who have no direct interest in Warwick development to be used as pawns in agreeing with their plans. This is a clear misuse of public funds and resources.
  • A fully fledged Police station to be deployment with a large number of permanent police to the Warwick precinct which are visible to ensure reduced crime in the area. Metro Police must wear full uniforms when they are on duty and street traders can longer be expected to do the duties of the police in this area.
  • eThekwini Municipality must enter into serious formal consultation in good faith with all organizations of informal traders;
  • eThekwini Municipality must guarantee either a traders` permit or a job for every adult earning a livelihood from informal trade;
  • eThekwini Municipality must commit to the demands of the World Class Cities for All (WCCA) campaign, to ensure that informal traders have equal access to opportunities to benefit from the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Presented by

Masibambisane Traders Organization (MATO)
Traders Against Crime (TAC)
Early Morning Market Association (EMMA)
South African Self-Employed Women`s Association (SASEWA)
Siyagunda Association Warwick Informal traders` interim committee
Warwick residence committee
Stanger Informal traders committee
Verulam Informal traders committee
Tongaat Informal traders committee
Bester Informal traders committee
Pinetown Informal traders committee
Isipingo Informal traders committee
Umlazi Emaweleni Informal traders committee
Umlazi Megacity Mall Informal traders committee
Durban station Informal traders committee
Bovine Head traders committee
Herb market traders committee
World Class City for All (WCCA) campaign task team - Durban

Phumzile Xulu WCCA Co-ordinator Durban
Mobile: +27 82 422 9487
Email: kwakwax@yahoo.com

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INDIA. 'Street vendors denied right to livelihood'. The Hindu (1 April 2015) by K.N. Umesh.

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