Plan to clamp down on illegal trading

More and more vendors are flocking to the area.

Kraaifontein Community Police Forum spokesman Gavin Riddles says “something needs to be done” about informal traders who have spread from Van Riebeeck Road into Botfontein Road.

Mr Riddles said the vendors sometimes spread as far as the police station’s parking area, causing disruptions to traffic and blocking pavements.

Ward councillor Brenda Hansen said something was being done about it.

“Special designated trading areas are in the pipeline,” she said. “Once that is finalised then those trading illegally will get fined. I’ve seen for myself what it looks like there but things are not yet in place.”

The Northern News visited the area to speak to some of the traders.

Alex Kaushi, who is originally from Zambia, but now lives in Wallacedene, said he had chosen the spot to sell second-hand clothes because it was a busy road. “There’s lots of foot traffic,” he said.

Mr Kaushi said he knew that hawking was not allowed there. “We saw people doing and it and thought, let’s take a chance.”

He conceded Mr Riddles’s point that the area became congested on Saturdays. “Even on that side,” he said, pointing to the opposite pavement, which at the time was empty.

Zimbabwean Rachelle Mpophu, of Wallacedene, said she had no other choice than to sell second-hand clothing on the side of the road because she had battled to find work for the last four years.

“I don’t have work. I am looking for work, and I need to look after my children,” she said.

Ms Mpophu, a widow, said she had seen the signs warning that trading in the road was forbidden but continued nevertheless because “I don’t have options”.

“I have to pay rent, I have to pay school fees; I need to do this,” she said.

Mayoral commitee member for area north, Suzette Little said the City had adopted an informal-trading plan for the area at the beginning of the month.

“This means that informal traders can trade in dedicated demarcated trading spaces with a valid permit and have security of tenure. It also means that the traders do not have to worry about competing with opportunistic traders who do not have permits to trade in Kraaifontein. No trading is permitted outside those dedicated trading spaces.”

But Mr Kaushi said the dedicated flea markets were too full. “There are too many people there,” he said.

Kraaifontein Neighbourhood Watch member Anton Potgieter said they frequently saw people selling pirated movies in the area on weekends but by the time law enforcement officers arrived the vendors had moved on.

“They warn each other somehow,” he said.

Mr Potgieter said vendors had told him they did not want to sell in the designated areas because they were too far from the foot traffic.