Memorandum of grievances to the Metro Trading Company and to The City of Johannesburg Mayor Amos Masondo

23 April 2008

We the above mentioned organisation (One Voice of All Hawkers) representing hawkers who are trading here all over in Johannesburg have gathered to deliver our grievances to your offices. We live in a country that has more than 40% of our population unemployed and more than 50% living below the poverty line. These are people who were previously disadvantaged under the apartheid government and are struggling to survive under the dire conditions of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Since 1994 more of the country has been worse off and they have no access to basic service like water, education, housing, employment, electricity and health. We live in a country that has a high rate of crime and many people have resorted to doing crime as a living. But many of us (hawkers) have tried to do what is called ‘Vukuzenzele’ by trading or selling our products on the street or where ever possible we can access local markets. The political conditions in the country have seen the enforcement of municipalities coming up with many by-laws and there has a crack down or City clean up. This is done to pave way for Economic development for Soccer World Cup Finals in 2010 and other big events. If our voices are ignored then war is eminent in the country because poor people will rise up and get their share in the economy. The events will be ungovernable if the government fails to listen to the people in the country.

We demand

We demand that the process of demarcation must be accelerated by the Metro Trading Company. There must be a delegation from the hawkers to be part of the Demarcation process as equal partners in all meetings. We demand that the hawkers must be given interim place for selling while the process is still going on. We demand that the Economic development Unit must reduce area restrictions and that more stalls must be allocated for traders. The Mayor must be aware that there is a high rate of unemployment in the country and that the levels of poverty in the country are very high. We therefore demand that the Mayor must review the Municipal by-laws. We demand that there must be more stalls given for trading so that people can earn a living. We demand that the Metro police must stop harassing trades and confiscating their goods illegally. Our memorandum must be answered within seven days.

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StreetNet International

StreetNet International is an alliance of street vendors. It was launched in Durban, South Africa, in November 2002.

Membership-based organizations (unions, co-operatives or associations) directly organizing street vendors, market vendors and/or hawkers among their members, are entitled to affiliate to StreetNet International.

The aim of StreetNet is to promote the exchange of information and ideas on critical issues facing street vendors, market vendors and hawkers (i.e. mobile vendors) and on practical organizing and advocacy strategies