CHATA: City’s no permit, no trading doctrine is a threat to trader livelihoods

28 02 2010

Mitchell’s Plain Concerned Hawkers and Traders Association
Press Release – 28 February 2010

Event: Mitchell’s Plain and Cape Town Station traders march to Parliament
Date/Time: 2 March, 2010 at 10h00 (assemble at 08h30)
Location: Kaizergracht to the front of Parliament

On Friday, 26 of February 2010, a police officer went around handing out a notice to all informal traders in Mitchell’s Plain Town Centre (click to read notice) that may result in the eventual eviction and loss of space to trade for about 500 CHATA members.

In other words, if the so-called ‘trading plan’ is followed through, 500 people will have had their main source of income destroyed.  This will have an additional negative impact on about 3,000 family members of the traders who rely on that income and also result in job losses for countless other informal workers such as porters, night-time security guards, drivers, etc.  The total negative economic impact of this draconian restructuring of Town Centre on poor residents of Mitchell’s Plain is enormous.  It will even result in higher prices for consumers.  Only formal businesses like Shoprite and Pick n’ Pay stand to benefit. Last Tuesday (23rd February) CHATA went out and protested against the City’s treatment of traders throughout the metropole.  CHATA handed their own memorandum to Mr Paul Williamson who did not tell us when the City would reply.  Indeed, we are doubtful as to whether we will even get a response.  The memorandum included the following demands:

  1. The immediate re-election of the Town Centre Traders Umbrella Body which has not had a democratic election in about 15 years but still claims to represent us, the traders.
  2. The immediate re-discussion of the Town Centre ‘Trading Plan’.  Traders must be able to contribute to creating a new, inclusive and fair plan.
  3. An urgent meeting take place between the sub-Council 12 and the executive members of CHATA.

CHATA’s response to Cllr Natalie Bent’s article in the Plainsman:

Cllr Bent is anti-poor and her position is an outright threat to informal traders.  She wants to undermine our businesses so that we are forced to become exploited workers at Shoprite.  CHATA believes it is the City’s responsibility to see to it that each and every trader is being supported and catered for in a fair and just manner.  Cllr Bent says NO PERMIT, NO TRADING.  She wants CHATA’s members to apply for a new permit every month but without explaining the unfair conditions and restrictions associated with signing the permit.  Cllr Bent is wrong; the workshop was not succesfull and the issues are still not resolved.  The engagement by the city was not meaningful, it was a farcical publicity stunt.

CHATA’s response to Mayoral Committee member Felicity Purchase:

Cllr Purchase says that we must make way for ‘development’.  We ask: why must poor traders and hawkers move so that development takes place for wealthy formal businesses?  The funds that are being used to upgrade the Town Centre are public funds and traders form part of the public.  In fact, much of these funds were earmarked to specifically to uplift the traders.  Instead it is being used to undermine our livelihoods.

CHATA’s statement to Mayor Dan Plato:

You and your city officials have made false promises to us.  We have been promised that the City would attempt to find an ammicable solution to the problem without the threat of evictions.  We are disappointed with the lies of the City.

You also requested names and information from us regarding our allegations of corruption during the upgrading process.  We gave you the relevant names and information.  You promised to address this issue and stamp out corruption.  You have not bothered to fullfil this promise either.

Way Forward:

Because the City believes that informal traders must be evicted, controlled, and placed on the margins of society, we will once again be demonstrating this Tuesday the 2nd of March 2010.  The march will be led by CHATA as well as the informal traders from Cape Town Train Station who have been experiencing evictions, arrests and confiscation of their goods as a result of the station’s Word Cup upgrade. The march will be supported by Western Cape Informal Traders Coalition.  The march will begin at Kaizergracht where we will assemble at 08h30 and then march onto Parliament at 10h00.  Since the City of Cape Town is ignoring our plight, we will approaching the national government to intervene.

We are marching for our livelihoods, for our families and for our children.  What will we do if we are out of jobs?

If Cllr Bent demands from us: No Permit, No Trading.


For more information, please contact:

Mischka Cassiem 073128657 (CHATA)
Yasmeen Abrahams 0842875220 (CHATA)
Rashida Miller 084-605-6135 (Western Cape Informal Traders Coalition)
Gabieba 0834771773 (Cape Town Station Traders)




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