Informal traders march to protest against EThekwini Municipality for better service delivery

This Wednesday, June 26, a thousand two hundred informal traders marched to protest against Ethekwini municipality for better service delivery.

The march started from the Botanical Gardens and then proceeded to the City Hall, where a memorandum was given to the office of the Mayor. The march was supported by Ubumbano Traders Alliance (Ubumbano) and StreetNet (to which Ubumbano is affiliated). StreetNet is a worker organisation that broadens, networks and represents their members through national and international structures.

Women pinafore-sellers and informal traders marchUbumbano has been formed in order to coordinate the representation of informal traders and provide a channel through which different traders` organisations and representative structures may collectively represent the interests of informal traders in Durban.

Jabulani Ntsele, Spokesperson for Ubumbano said that they have been trying to work with the municipality as many of our grievances highlighted has been going on for years. “Informal workers play an important role in the economy.  We are having this march to bring awareness to these issues, as government needs to cater for the informal traders whose livelihoods depend on their trade,” he said.

Ntsele said that the work they are doing is for survival but it can also be sustainable. “National Government should take a strong stance and monitor local municipalities and officials. We have been serving memorandums to the municipality but even today, we are still waiting for changes especially with the tariffs.”

Their demands to Ethekwini Municipality are:

  • An explanation of their budget from 2007-2012 - including a list of what they have done in the informal sector.

  • We demand the Police to stop asking permits whether expired or not and confiscate goods of traders who have vending permits. The police need to follow procedures when confiscating goods and to stop harassing the informal workers. Eg the last incident reported in the newspapers where police were accused of punching mealie vendors. Instead of confiscating the goods, which most times, informal workers cannot get it back, police should close the table. Many times, the goods are perishable, so it can’t be used when confiscated. Many people are in this sector, as they don’t have anyway to earn a living.
  • We demand a moratorium on the rent increase until we agree on terms

  • We demand that all Flea Market traders be issued with the vending permits similar to those of their street traders’ counterparts, and not lease agreements. Permits increases for trading licenses need to be reviewed as some traders pays more than R800 twice a year and they don’t have basic provisions such as access to water and sanitation facilities

  • The Allocation policy needs to be reviewed. We demand that the allocation policy, the itinerant policy and the container policy to be reviewed and provide opportunities for people to graduate to another level. This issue with the municipality has been ongoing on since 2008. "There are also select places in the CBD that are unoccupied and can be used.

  • Women Pinafore Makers should be provided with an alternative building since the orginal building was destroyed by fire.

  • Ethekwini Municipality needs to provide the Informal Economy forum with a recognition agreement and show respect instead of using our leadership as we have received information about members being bribed so they will agree to decision made by the municipality

  • We demand the dissolution of the Working Committee as they were appointed to solve issues between the leadership who were in favour of the construction of the Mall in Warwick and those who were against.

  • We demand that the head of the department of Business Support Unit (Philip Sithole) to be removed from informal traders, as we have achieved nothing under his leadership.

  • We demand that the EMIEF should take decisions. Councillors and officials must respect decisions taken by EMIEF and give dignity to all EMIEF stakeholders.

For more information, please contact

Jabulani Ntsele - Ubumbano, Chairman
073 496 1670

Sharon Pillay
Media and Publicity Officer

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INDIA. No street vendors, cycle rickshaws in Lajpat Nagar market: NGT. Zee News (8 April 2015) by PTI. New Delhi:

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USA. Five Courses: Hawkers' street food flair & more. Creative Loafing Tampa Bay (8 April 2015) by Meaghan Habuda.

INDIA. Hawkers may be allowed near Rishi Kapoor, Anil Ambani's Pali Hill residences. DNA India (8 April 2015) by Amrita Nayak Dutta.

ABU-DHABI. Abu Dhabi Municipality raid scares away street hawkers. Gulf News (7 April 2015).

SINGAPORE. Hawker centres to be spruced up with murals and art installations. Channel News Asia (5 April 2015) by Vimita Mohandas.

MALAYSIA. 'Development will be inclusive'. The Star Online (3 April 2015).

INDIA. 'Street vendors denied right to livelihood'. The Hindu (1 April 2015) by K.N. Umesh.

SOUTH AFRICA. South Africa: Xenophobic Violence in KZN - 'This Is a Black Easter for Foreigners'.

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StreetNet International

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