Cape Town: UNITED GREEN POINT TRADERS ALLIANCE - Chaos as displaced street traders queue for permits

14 March 2009

The scene on Saturday 16h00 at Blackpool hall in shelly road Salt River resembled a food line at a UN compound in an impoverished African country. That people were forced to wait in queues in the sweltering heat for a chance to register was an injustice. That the registering authority (GPFTA) could sit cool and comfortably inside the walls of the complex and debate whether they would indeed proceed with registration, added an element of contempt to the equation.

In its last communication with the city (e-mail 13-03-09) the UGPTA appealed to Mr. Mansoor Mohamed of the department responsible for informal trading for his intervention. His reply to an earlier e-mail indicated that the city would only revert to us on Monday (16-03-09) leaving another uncertain Sunday trading day ahead.

In the absence of any direction from either the GPFTA or the City w.r.t. pre-registration, we suggested to our members that they present themselves at the Blackpool facility for registration.

What transpired on registration day can only be described as organized chaos. Only the first five traders were fortunate enough to receive allocation cards… one of them more fortunate than the others by receiving not one, but five allocation cards. It was at that point that a stampede for the door started. We suppose it was due partly to the heat and partly due to the deliberate delaying tactics of the GPFTA officials manning the doors.

Whilst frustration, uncertainty, distress, and anger prevailed, we were amazed at the restraint our traders showed, and it was beyond belief that five police vehicles responded to a call from the GPTFA and roared with gusto into the Blackpool grounds. One can only assume that the call must have been peppered with angst and a fair sprinkling of panic.

The GPFTA closed registration after the first ten allocation cards were issued and advised through its secretary/chairperson that allocation would continue on Sunday 15-03-09.

You are hereby invited to witness first hand the continuation of the registration fiasco at Green Point bowling green tomorrow, when once more we shall witness unjust and unfair allocation. Our proposal to the City has not been acted upon and the vast majority of displaced traders will again be forced to trek homeward without having an opportunity to earn a legitimate keep.

On behalf of the UGPTA Executive Members: J. Behr, R. Muller, A. Bardien, W. Ebrahim

For more, please visit the website of the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign at:

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