Plan for hawkers kicks off

First informal traders moved closer to shopping centre in bid to boost business The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s plan to shift informal traders closer to shopping malls kicked off yesterday, with the first group of hawkers moved to a piece of land across from the Ziyabuya Shopping Centre in KwaDwesi. The municipality is hoping to pave the area and install services like ablution facilities in an attempt to create a market that will draw tourists. The move, however, received mixed reactions from hawkers, with some saying it had affected their businesses negatively . Novusumzi Dada, 52, who sells roosterkoek, said the move had caught her off guard. “We were not given enough time to notify our clients. Business was going much better where we were [next to the Ziyabuya Total petrol station] but there is nothing we can do now.” Dada also said they would also have liked to move to a site that had already been prepared. But for Chris Chanise, 42, who owns a barber shop, the relocation has helped give his clients parking space for their vehicles. “I had many clients when I was in front of Ziyabuya, but being here will be better,” he said. “While the move means business is slow for now, based on the promises that have been made I am positive it will work in the end.” The municipality has also earmarked land in Walmer and Zwide as relocation sites for hawkers. This comes as 23 hawkers were issued with temporary trading permits yesterday. They will later be issued with permanent permits that will be connected to the site in KwaDwesi.

The removal of hawkers who had no permits to trade in 8th Avenue, Walmer, received a backlash from residents last year. The municipality later backtracked on its decision. At an economic development standing committee meeting on Tuesday, economic development boss Anele Qaba said talks were also under way with shopping centres in affluent areas like Sunridge Park to accommodate hawkers. Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip warned that foreign informal traders who were not registered with Home Affairs would not be granted permits. “Foreign traders are welcome to trade on condition they have their documentation in order,” he said. A process to verify documents with Home Affairs was under way. Economic development portfolio head Andrew Whitfield said R1-million had been set aside in the adjustments budget for informal trading infrastructure. This was approved at a February 27 council meeting. “We are engaging with centre managers and the private sector to ensure that the relocation of traders happens,” he said. “We can’t allow a situation where the formal trading sector is affected by the informal trading sector – we think the two can work together.” Ziyabuya Shopping Centre manager Dayle Foulds said she had initiated the discussions with the municipality in 2016. “This has been a long time coming.” Foulds said she hoped the hawkers would also increase foot traffic for the Ziyabuya Shopping Centre.