Durban – WCCA Campaign calls for City to stop dividing traders

By StreetNet International
September 5, 2011
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13 October 2009


In Durban, World Class Cities for All (WCCA) campaign task team is following closely the Warwick precinct development issue. This has been a struggle for the livelihoods of street vendors and informal market vendors in this area, and the whole of the eThekwini Metro, where many informal traders have lost their livelihoods, or their livelihoods are threatened by short-sighted development plans by the City and private developers.

It has been presented by the City and the developer that this Mall development in Warwick is bringing about 400 job opportunities, however it must be noted that there is over 8000 informal traders’ currently trading in this area so if one compares 400 to 8000, sums do not match.

We appreciate the efforts of the Provincial Task Team which was placed by the KwaZulu-Natal Premier to resolve the dispute between the informal traders in the Warwick market precinct and the eThekwini municipality – and that they have given their report of their findings and recommendations on a way forward.

However, the non-co-operation with this process and recommendations given that we have noticed on the part of the eThekwini Municipality is threatening the success of this initiative by the Provincial government and causing a major and dangerous division within the street vendors.

This is observed through a programme of action that was discussed during the Unicity Informal Sector Forum meeting held recently, against other traders’ who do not support Warwick development in the way the City has planned. We urge the national government to bring the eThekwini municipality and other local government authorities to account as we have these concerns:

  • eThekwini Municipality seems to have totally ignored all recommendations of the Provincial Task Team stated in its report, for an example the re-instatement of the so called “illegal traders” and consultation process with all Warwick stakeholders. The eThekwini Municipality seems to be pouring money and other resources into the Unicity Informal Sector Forum supporting all their activities aimed to intimidate and agitate the other street vendors’ thus causing a HUGE divide between street vendors’ with a potential of causing endless violence between them.
  • For example the planned march for the 14 October 2009 and other demonstrations throughout the month of October. The City has supported these activities by printing pamphlets and distributing them using City resources and officials. This is a clear abuse of public resources and a democratic structure where all informal traders need to be equally represented.
  • The mismanagement of public funds such as rentals paid for tents on which the Early Morning Market traders were going to be moved to and have been sitting vacant for over 6 months.

We call for the following:

  • The head of the Business Support Unit, Phillip Sithole to be removed from this position with immediate effect as he has shown to be working against the broader interests and rights of the informal traders sector;
  • The eThekwini Municipality must account for all resources and money used in the Warwick development project;
  • The head of the Provincial Task Team Mr. Mike Mabuyakhulu to address informal traders and give them a status report.
  • The renegade SANCO who have been seen to be working very closely with the City to stop supporting developments that were introduced to informal traders without any consultations and have no benefit to them.

Phumzile Xulu

On behalf of WCCA campaign task team
WCCA campaign task team co-ordinator – Durban
StreetNet International
Tel. 031 307 4038 (StreetNet)

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