16 August 2012
An ongoing battle since 2009 between the Ladysmith Municipality and Street Vendors led to street traders embarking on a protest march on the 7th August 2012 for harassment, forceful evictions by the police and lack of service delivery. A memorandum was handed to the Office of the MEC of Local Governance Nomusa Dube, as the street traders claim they no longer trust the co-operation of their local municipality.
Zama Zondi from the Informal Trade Support Services (ITSS) organisation representing the street barbers as well as other informal traders in Ladysmith commented that the municipality started violating the rights of the street vendors just after the MEC and Premier`s announcement that Ladysmith should be funded under the upliftment programme in KZN’s small towns.
The street vendors in Ladysmith have been trading for 16 years. "The municipal manager, Mr Madoda Khathide and the officials made an erroneous decision to put up a structure for the street vendors to trade in the flood prone area, which is on the banks of the Klip River. They had not even consulted the people concerned," he said.
Zondi continued to quote the ANC’s freedom charter which asserts that people should have freedom of choice. "One cannot exercise the apartheid regime to poor people who have no power to free themselves from oppression. We have made an appeal to the MEC for intervention as the situation is very tense as the moment. The people are frustrated that they are not being listened to. Their trading shacks get mysteriously burnt down on numerous occasions where there is no known cause of the fire. The traders in Lyell Street as well in Macksons are forced to vacate their homes, and are reluctant to move to an area where they are susceptible to flooding. The municipality and the officials continue to harass them."
The street vendors, particularly the hairdressers, were given a short notice to vacate the premises, after refusing repeated requests to meet ITSS. The street vendors are in the process of opening a case. Advocate Rev G.S.T Radebe, who is assisting ITSS on a pro bono basis, wrote to the municipality on 22 June, about the sensitivity of the matter involving land and the imbalances of the past which have not been addressed – including forced removals. In a second letter sent on 14 August requesting a meeting between the municipality and the street traders, and a temporary moratorium, have been met with no response.
The struggles of ITSS and the other street traders` organisations are supported by the Ubumbano Trader Alliance in Durban. Mzwandile Mavula, Secretary for Ubumbano, said that their organisation together with StreetNet International (to which Ubumbano is affiliated), which broadens, networks and represents over 500 000 informal traders through national and international structures, is monitoring the situation – especially around the 20 August, the date of the threatened eviction. "We think it is shameful that in a democratic country, people still resort to apartheid scare tactics and prey on the poor whose trade is their only means to survival."
Pat Horn, International Co-ordinator, stated that StreetNet`s message to the Ladysmith municipality is to urgently convene a meeting with the representative organisations of the street traders (including street barbers) to find a resolution to this problem in the spirit of social dialogue. If they do not do this, they are likely to meet the united resistance of organised street vendors in the whole KwaZulu-Natal Province and the whole country – as informal traders across all 9 provinces are currently uniting for the launch of a national alliance of street vendors early in 2013, to strengthen their united voice to and intensify their struggles against poverty and injustice.
There is also a portuguese version of the Blog where one can access personal updates on news and events. It can be found on this link: http://streetnetbrasil.wordpress.com/
ZIMBABWE. First Lady`s Empathy On Vendors Misunderstood. All Africa (13 March 2015). She reminded the police officers that some of them had qualified to join the force because their mothers had sent them to school from the proceeds of street vending.
UK. Street traders` petition passes 5,000 mark. Essex County Standard (13 March 2015) by Andrea Collitt. The petition, seeking the right for the street traders to stay where they are, had 5,000 signatures by Wednesday.
SINGAPORE. Year-long SG50 festivities to highlight hawker food, local music. Channel News Asia (12 March 2015). The Minister for Culture, Community and Youth said it is important to celebrate Singapore`s heritage and culture, adding that the idea of a "distinctive Singaporean culture" is still relatively new and evolving.
MEXICO. Tacos are on credit as street vendors in Mexico use apps. The Globe and Mail (12 March 2015) by Patricia Laya. In Mexico city, known for its sprawling street markets, consumers are shunning cash and opting for credit cards they swipe on merchants` smartphones to pay for everything from shoes to tacos.
INDIA. Vendor goods being seized under anti-sabotage measures: HC told. Zee News (8 March 2015). An association for street vendors has alleged before Delhi High Court that goods of roadside sellers were being seized by police as part of its "anti- sabotage measures", which the organisation has dubbed as a "fresh modus operandi" to harass squatters.
INDIA. Asi Permission Awaited For Building Shops. NewsHub (7 March 2015). The Vellore Corporation is waiting for permission from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to go ahead with the construction of shops for street vendors on the old fish market premises on Anna Salai.
AFRICA. Why Africa`s Booming Cities Need More Autonomy in Urban Planning. City Lab (3 March 2015) Sam Sturgis. According to the article, the bond was going to fund a new market hall, where street vendors could sell their goods in a more formal exchange.
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