Early Morning Market Support Group update and meeting times

20 July 2009

Dear Friends/Comrades,

Yesterday, one month after being beaten and shot at in the Early Morning Market, the market community, all 1200 or so of them, took to the streets of Durban in proletarian solidarity with the striking municipal bus employees and Unemployed People’s Union. The almost 3 hour protest march through West Street, followed by a four hour rally at City Hall also highlighted the threatened eviction from and the proposed demolition of the market.

From about 9am to 4pm, (without any food or water) old women and men marched and demonstrated in a dignified, determined manner that would have made their market-gardener parents proud. Seventy-five year old Mrs Velliamah Pillay stood patiently together with the barrow operators and other fellow comrades at the steps of City Hall, waiting in vain, for Mayor Obed Mlaba and or City Manager Mike Sutcliffe to emerge from their ivory towers to receive their petitions.

Last Friday at the ICC, Mlaba and Sutcliffe made great pretence (whilst bleating a racist refrain) of consulting with and informing the public. Yesterday, 5 days later, they put up a ring of heavily armed riot police between themselves and the poor – refusing to even sign the memoranda of the poor.

Comrades, we have just about two weeks to rally to the defense of the market and the working-poor of Durban.

We are in the process of setting up strategy and report-back meetings. To date, we have not been able to secure a nearby venue (with parking for about 20 cars). The market would be our preferred place for the expanded strategy meetings, but we can only accommodate about 5 additional cars in the parking lot – we need to at least have a minimum of 15 parking bays for the Support Group. It seems that the nearby (municipal) ITrump building is denied to us, because I revealed (to the staff there) that the EMMSG was organising to STOP THE DEMOLITION of the market. In the meantime, we are looking at the other nearby institutions for venues and shall keep you informed. We hope to have about 5 strategy meetings between now and 31 July 2009.

Strategy meetings of the EMMSG (including the market association) are as follows: (all welcome)

1. Tomorrow, 17 July 2009 at the Early Morning Market between 2pm and 4pm. Limited parking (5#). Join us if you can.

2. Saturday, 18th July 2009 at a venue near the market (between 2pm and 4pm). This will be a bigger meeting, at a venue with parking. Will email details.

3. Tuesday, 21 July 2009, Mercury House at 2:30pm – scheduled WCCA meeting venue. Parkade in building. Venue to host 60 persons.

4. Saturday, 25th July 2009 at a venue near the market (between 2pm and 4pm). Will email details.

5. Tuesday 28th July 2009, proposed public meeting to be hosted by 1860 Legacy Foundation at Kendra Hall, 6pm. Ample parking

Activities will be discussed at these meetings.

EMM Support Group (e-mail 17th July 2009) (Note – *Streetnet correction to venue)

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StreetNet International is an alliance of street vendors. It was launched in Durban, South Africa, in November 2002.

Membership-based organizations (unions, co-operatives or associations) directly organizing street vendors, market vendors and/or hawkers among their members, are entitled to affiliate to StreetNet International.

The aim of StreetNet is to promote the exchange of information and ideas on critical issues facing street vendors, market vendors and hawkers (i.e. mobile vendors) and on practical organizing and advocacy strategies