INFORMAL traders who ply their trade in the inner city will soon get some assistance when the City implements a programme to formalise their businesses.
The plan is to reduce congestion along pavements, where many hawkers and informal car wash businesses operate, by building trading facilities in designated areas.
“The idea behind the programme is to create sustainable jobs for young people. We want to encourage a formal environment where youth [are] able to operate businesses so they can contribute economically to the city,” says Region F’s manager: programme and strategy development planning and urban management, Vijay Moodley.
Formalisation of informal enterprises will help the City a great deal in addressing the violation of municipal by-laws, Pillay says. “Very often we receive reports of broken water meters by car washers, especially around taxi ranks.”
According to a survey conducted by a Region F task team, illegal trading hot spots are Noord, Faraday and Bree Street taxi ranks. These areas will be prioritised when the formalisation programme is implemented.
More than 8 000 people pass through these areas between 4pm and 5pm, a targeted time for informal traders, according to research compiled by the City’s department of strategy development and planning.
The plan is to build a facility that will house car washers and buy and braais under one roof. Moodley says that in building these facilities, proximity to customers is keen.
“The reason for this is that car washers and buy and braais want to be closer to taxi ranks. That is where their customers are based. So we will take this factor into account when launching this initiative,” adds Moodley.
In rolling out the formalisation programme, the City has partnered with the National Youth Development Agency. The agency will play an instrumental role in supplying skills training and facilitating the registration of businesses.
The initiative will only be activated once all stakeholders have been consulted in the beginning of the new financial year in July.
Alice Majoro, a 32-year-old mother of two, has been operating her buy and braai business on the corner of Plein and Quartz streets, next to Noord Street Taxi Rank, for the past two years. She came to Joburg all the way from Ladybrand in the Free State in search of greener pastures, but has had a hard time finding a job.
“Formalisation of informal businesses will help us to operate our businesses without being intimidated. I run a buy and braai and at times it is difficult because the police sometimes take our stock, as we are not registered. According to the by-laws it is illegal for us to operate on the sidewalks,” Majoro explains.
“We do not generate enough profit, but we are able to survive with the little money we make. So this programme will help our businesses to grow [and we will] be able to access financial assistance from the government once we are registered,” she adds.