August 19, 2009 Edition 1
Francis Hweshe – Cape Argus
TENSIONS between local and Somali store owners in Gugulethu have been allayed, thanks to both sides signing a “trading agreement”.
The agreement, which is not legally binding, was signed on Monday night and follows a series of contentious meetings between the traders around pricing and trading territory, among other issues.The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC) are among the organisations that have been facilitating the agreement.
The traders have agreed that their shops must be about 100 metres apart, and that they will sell basics such as bread, sugar and salt at uniform prices. The agreement also says locals will run 70 percent of shops and Somalis 30 percent.
Somalis were also barred from opening new shops, although they may continue to run existing stores. The Somali storeowners also agreed to share their business experience with local owners.
Some Somali residents, unhappy with the terms, failed to turn up for the signing session. One, who declined to be named for fear of victimisation, said yesterday that “having the same prices isn’t fair”.
UNHCR`’s local representative, Lawrence Mgbangson, said the local councillor and the SA National Civic Organisation were among stakeholders who had still to sign the document.