Informal traders in Tshwane battle to get permits

Informal traders are desperate to get their hands on permits allowing them to resume trading under lockdown. This has unfortunately led to some exploiting the situation and trying to make a quick buck.


Hundreds of informal traders queued outside a Tshwane municipal office in the city centre on Wednesday, desperate to obtain permits allowing them to get back into business. Since the start of the national lockdown which imposed strict regulations to try contain the spread of the coronavirus, informal traders had to be removed from the streets during the lockdown period. Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma announced earlier in April, however, that informal traders were allowed to operate again but only once they obtain a permit from their municipality. Since then the capital’s informal traders were adamant on…

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Hundreds of informal traders queued outside a Tshwane municipal office in the city centre on Wednesday, desperate to obtain permits allowing them to get back into business.

Since the start of the national lockdown which imposed strict regulations to try contain the spread of the coronavirus, informal traders had to be removed from the streets during the lockdown period.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma announced earlier in April, however, that informal traders were allowed to operate again but only once they obtain a permit from their municipality.

Since then the capital’s informal traders were adamant on getting the required permits, as many had returned over several days during the application period to try get the correct document.

Due to the high number of applicants, the City of Tshwane reopened their application period by another three days from Wednesday to Friday after the initial period closed last Thursday. The city also relocated the entire process from their regional offices to a centralised point in the CBD.

Tina Matjeke from Soshanguve was on her fourth attempt yesterday, saying she was told to only register her name but never received the permit. She sells fruits and vegetables in her neighbourhood.

“I have been trying since last week to get a permit. We have all been struggling to get them,” she said.

Informal traders can be seen queing to apply for permits in order to trade during the national lockdown in Church Square, 15 April 2020, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

John Ndlovu, who sells chicken feet, fruit and vegetables in Mamelodi, could not wait to be able to once again earn a living , so that he could feed his five children.

“We had to lock ourselves in the house like the government said we should. So, I struggled to feed my five children since we respect the law. We once listed ourselves for food parcels but never got them, so it’s best we start selling again,” he said.

Some have, however used the vulnerability of informal traders to supply them with fake, illegal permits.

A 22-year-old man appeared before the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday for allegedly selling fraudulent permits to informal traders for R300.

The undocumented Zimbabwean national was arrested by the Hawks on Tuesday in Olievenhoutbosch, Centurion. This after the investigating team met with the accused under the pretext that they want to obtain a permit. A laptop and other documents were found at his house.

The matter was postponed to 4 May for further investigation.

Gauteng MEC of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) Lebogang Maile said yesterday that he received complaints of some former Tshwane councillors issuing illegal permits to informal traders and spaza shop owners. This despite the municipal council being dissolved.

“The full wrath of the law should face those responsible, who are using the plight of informal traders to undermine the bylaws and the Covid-19 regulations,” said Maile.

rorisangk@citizen.co.za

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