WE’RE BEING IGNORED: Street vendors march to the eThekwini municipality, demanding to have their grievances heard.
Street vendors in the Durban city centre have come out with guns blazing at the Business Support Unit, under the eThekwini municipality, claiming that the unit has been ignoring of their demands.
The secretary of Ubumbano Traders’ Alliance, Mzwandile Mavula, said that they had not received a response from the eThekwini municipality after submitting two memorandums outlining their grievances.
“We handed the first memorandum to Joe Nene and Benny Mngwengwe on August 7 and the second one on September 10 was given to Joe Nene,” said Mavula.
He said that they are calling on the mayor, James Nxumalo, and new city manager S’bu Sithole to meet with the street vendors and pinafore-makers to respond to their demands.
Their demands included the following:
• Urgent allocation of a building to work in;
• Appointment of a woman at the Business Support Unit to head women’s issues affecting women informal traders;
• Support for those who lost their machinery and equipment in a fire at the Phezulu Lodge building in Umgeni Road on Saturday; and
• A suitable and affordable space to sell their pinafores at flea markets.
Mavula said that he and 12 pinafore-makers and a lawyer were arrested and taken to CR Swart Square on Saturday for trying to defend informal traders who were being forcefully removed from trading in Alice Street. “They later released us on a warning.”
Metro police spokesperson Eugene Msomi said that if the street vendors were breaking any by-laws, the metro police had the right to remove them.
“The Business Support Unit issues permits to vendors, so if they tell us that some are operating without permits, it’s our job to remove them,” he said.
Ethekwini municipality spokesperson, Thabo Mofokeng, could not be reached for comment.