Cape Town - The DA-led City has come under fire over its points-based system that considers race via a tick box as a criteria when issuing informal trading permits for beaches.
Freedom Front Plus councillor Paul Jacobson flagged the concern, saying he had received several complaints from traders since he had also been a beach trader.
“This is one of the most racist documents I have ever seen in the Western Cape. This goes against our Constitution and the intention of our City, to ‘treat everyone equally, despite their background’,” he said.
“As per the application form attached, clause 4, requests your race.
“While there are other criteria for which you are scored, the colour of your skin also affects heavily whether your application is successful or not.
Preference is given first to black African persons, then Coloured persons, then Indian and then white.
“We have seen over the years a change in profile from our traditional beach vendor, ‘a granadilla lolly to make you jolly’ towards the black African trader.
“I myself was a beach trader for 11 years, 25 years ago, and still keep a warm relationship with all vendors on the beach. They are concerned that there is no longevity in the business and feel very insecure.
“The Coloured population in the Western Cape is 51%, if you are playing the race card, then I would insist that 51% of beach traders are then Coloured as well, for the desire to trade informally, is equal among Black, white, Coloured and Indian.”
A man who has been trading on local beaches for more than 20 years and who asked to be anonymous for fear of victimisation, said he had experienced discrimination.
“People end up getting other people to fill in the forms just to make sure they will be successful. Then they also discriminate with what type of permit they give. If you speak up you get marked and won’t get a permit again.”
For 63-year-old pensioner, Trevor Marman, the process to get a permit was stressful.
“All the red tape you have to go through, the questions they post, even race is also considered. You even ask yourself is it worth it to trade on the beach? You fill in the form, in my case, I’m unemployed and a pensioner, and I’m supposed to get preference but it doesn’t work like that. On top of that you abide by the law, you get your permit, then you get victimised every day, ‘where’s your licence’, but guys trading illegally make their buck, no problem,” he said.
According to the City, each race group is allocated 1 point and additional points are as follows: “female 1 point, disability 1 point, unemployed 1 point, SA Citizen 1 point.”
The point-based system, however, is not reflected in the City’s Informal Trading By-Law and the City has refused to make the document it uses to apply the criteria available to the Cape Times.
“The points are not found in the by-law. However, the points system was developed in line with the PPPFA.
“The scoring criteria and points were developed by the (Department Sport, Recreation and Amenities) now Recreation and Parks, during the 2002/03 period. This was in response to meeting the requirement in section 8 of the by-law.
“Directly relating to the Historical Disadvantage Individuals, (HDI), this at the time would have been an operational requirement in the Informal Beach Trading Policy and Management Framework, section 7.4.
“The scoring logic aligns with the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act, 2000: Preferential Procurement Regulations, 2017 (PPPFA).
It is to ensure consistency and that the requirements of considering the HDI status are met in a consistent manner.“
South African Informal Traders’ Alliance president, Rosheda Muller, said there had been concerns that some people were waiting up to three years to get in while others got permits within weeks.
“It’s too bureaucratic, marginalising certain people,” she said.