No permit, no trade will soon be the new phrase used by law enforcement officers to mediate informal trading in the area, because the informal trading plan, which has been in the deliberation stage for the past three years, is finally being implemented.
The trading plan, which is developed to regulate informal trading through by-laws that restrict trading to certain areas and times, has received full council approval.
But, the by-laws will only be in play once traders and law enforcers have been educated about them.
“It’s been a long journey, and we made it. We’re now loading the trading bays onto the system, which will take five working days. We will then enter a screening process to interview traders, who will need to have an application form, a copy of their ID, legal residency and affidavit,” said the City’s department of economic development (DED) member, Abel Kortje.
Mr Kortje and his representatives started their rounds visiting traders in Atlantis to tell them about the new by-laws on Wednesday January 20.
He will be visiting traders in Potsdam Road, Table View, on Tuesday February 2, and traders in Montague Gardens on Thursday February 4, as the process will take 15 days to reach completion.
“The trader will be informed about the new laws and regulations they will need to abide by, and their registration documentation will then be taken to SAPS who will certify the document in a period of five working days,” said Mr Kortje.
“The bay will cost R75 per month, and there will be a month-to-month renewal of the permits. We will then provide them with relevant brochures and updates of the by-laws. Doing the entire district for screening is quite an exercise,” said Mr Kortje.
Law enforcement will do regular patrols to write up reports, issue warnings and fines and revoke permits of traders who break the law. A weekly report on the traders’ progress will be compiled.
“Once the trading plan is officially in practice, we will have a ‘no permit, no trade’ system, with the exception of Dunoon.
“If the trader is not successful, then the trader will not be allowed to trade in Sub-council 1,” said DED member Paul Williamson.
He said “no permit, no trade” was due to take effect next month. While councillors support the plan, some had concerns about changes to it.
Ward 4 councillor, Dr Joy McCarthy wanted to know why Freedom Way, Joe Slovo Park, had been included as a trading location after sub-council recommended excluding it. She asked for the inclusion to be reversed.
Mr Williamson said sub-council could approve or object to plans, but final approval came from council, the line department and the recommendations of the executive mayor.
“This is why there is a difference between what sub-council recommended and what was decided upon. Where there is clear areas of disconnect with trading and the trading plan, these areas will be addressed,” said Mr Williamson.
Ward 104 councillor Lubabalo Makeleni pointed to problems with trading in Dunoon. “Dunoon is dangerous for traders. They need space to trade away from the road. The monitoring also needs to be strong. Some traders may take advantage of trading bays and rent out the space for three or four hundred rand per month,” said Mr Makeleni. “There are foreign nationals everywhere, and they push our locals back by doing business the way they do.”
Mr Williamson said the law did not distinguish between legal foreign nationals and citizens.
“If they are legally in SA, we will treat them as such. The assistants to informal traders also need to be a legitimate person.
“If a trader sells their business, they will lose their bay and be blacklisted. We also need to find out whether traders are informal traders and are not fronts for big businesses,” said Mr Williamson.
He said traders had been prioritised and were being loaded onto the system and their information checked with the SAPS.
“There is a three-year expiry date within which traders have to reapply and make opportunity for new entrants. There is no restriction for people from certain areas to trade in another area,” said Mr Williamson.
Dr McCarthy responded, saying the City can prepare for a fight as the trading community would not understand why traders from different areas are allowed to trade in their area.