File picture: Jacques Naude/ANA Pictures
Pretoria - The city was losing revenue as a result of the high rate of illegal trading in both the formal and informal sectors, MMC for Economic Development and Spatial Planning Randall Williams has said.

Illegal practices contributed to making the capital less attractive and deterred investors and tourists from doing business with the city, Williams said.

The new inner-city rejuvenation drive would ensure both businesses conduct their activities in a conducive environment, he said.

As part of the rejuvenation programme, the informal trading sector needed to be licensed urgently “so we can activate compliance monitoring and enforcement”, he said.

“There are now illegal traders all over the city owing to lack of enforcement as a result of the moratorium."

"The city continues to lose revenue as a result,” Williams said.

The moratorium came into effect in terms of the process initiated by the department to migrate from manual to electronic licensing in 2014.

Williams said the city could not afford to postpone the issuing of licences any longer, saying future applications could be processed manually until such time that the electronic system was functional.

Williams said a moratorium was issued on the issuance of licences until an electronic system was up and running.

The electronic system was not yet operational due to errors detected on it, he said.

“We are still waiting for the error to be addressed so we can issue a communiqué to informal traders inviting them to apply for licences,” Williams said.

Under the current circumstances where the electronic system was not working, the city had reverted to manual applications, he said.

The electronic system would advance activity in the sector and improve social and economic development contributions to the city's local communities, he said.

Meanwhile, Williams highlighted problems of overcrowding in the city as a resulted of migration of traders to the CBD.

“This results in an imbalance where traders flood the CBD, leaving the outskirt regions without economic activities."

The CBD informal trading sector has current capacity for 458 traders, with 416 trading spaces occupied and 42 unused.

Williams said the city had identified additional capacity of 112, and that the region had at least 1 206 informal trading sector and 612 formal trading sector.

There were 1141 verified unlicensed traders and 65 licensed.

Mayor Solly Msimanga said the rejuvenation programme was not designed to stifle the work of informal traders or other businesses in the inner city, but to create an environment attracting residents and tourists into the city.

Pretoria News