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Informal traders’ permit waiver by City long overdue, Saita says

Informal traders on Adderley Street in Cape town. Picture: Willem Law

Informal traders on Adderley Street in Cape town. Picture: Willem Law

Published May 19, 2022

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Cape Town - More than a year after the SA Informal Traders Alliance (Saita) called on the City to adhere to the national directive to waiver the informal trading permit costs, it has now heeded the call.

This after the mayoral committee agreed on Tuesday to support further trading permit relief for informal traders until the end of December. Currently, the informal trading permit granted is valid for the period January 1 to June 30.

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A report by Economic growth Mayco member James Vos is currently awaiting approval by the council and could ensure further trading permit relief for informal traders by a further six months, to the end of December.

Vos said while traders had largely been able to do business for a few months, many were struggling with the impact of the pandemic and the lockdowns. He said many were still desperately trying to survive financially and put their businesses back on a sustainable footing.

“As a caring, opportunity City, we recognise traders’ vital contribution to economic growth, providing goods and services to communities across Cape Town and, most importantly, in sustaining livelihoods for people and their families,” he said.

In August last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the relaxation of payment requirements for traders until the end of December 2022.

This was followed by a directive published by former Minister of Small Business Development Khumbudzo Tshaveni, giving the extension to all informal traders whose payments had expired or who began trading and were unable to apply for business trading payments due to lockdown regulations.

Saita national membership director Paul Bester said following the directive, neither the City nor many municipalities across the country honoured it and as a result, the alliance had huge fights. Bester said the City’s decision was long overdue.

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“We’re extremely happy that eventually, the City of Cape Town has seen the light, stopped playing politics, and decided to implement the national government directive to waiver permits up until the end of December 2022.

“This was like a slap in the face of the informal traders but now that we are on the same page, at least we have something to look forward to and to allow our traders to build businesses after the huge losses that they incurred during Covid-19,” he said.

Bester said during the period, many informal traders were fined and their stock was confiscated. He said the alliance had also requested the City to also extend the period for another year to make up for the time it defied the national directive.

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