Trader trials in Parow

Informal traders in the mall between Voortrekker Road and Parow station.
Parow traders say the’re finding it hard to make a living because the City is fining them while a promised formal market has still not materialised.

Hilton Sauls, who grew up trading in Parow, says he has heard a lot of talk from City officials about setting up a market, but so far it’s all come to nothing. And despite being registered as a trader with the City he has still been given three fines.

Mr Sauls says the City has promised them demarcated trading bays in the car park bounded by King Edward Street and Alexandra Road, but nothing has come of the plan.

Virginia Raatz has been trading in Klosser Street for almost 20 years. She said it was unfair that they kept being fined when they were registered with the City.

Elmarie Enjilen, who has been trading for eight years, said she was registered for a new bay. The traders had been promised the new site would be ready in October but nothing had been done, she said.

The trading situation has also caused frustration for Sub-council four chairman Christopher Jordaan. At the sub-council meeting earlier this month, he complained about congestion, litter and over-trading in the Parow CBD.

Last year, the City had promised to provide demarcated areas for informal traders, but nothing had happened, he said.

“Parow station is a mess. How can we regularise informal trading there? The congestion on pavements causes pedestrians to walk in the roads, and the lack of user-friendly structures poses hazards.”

The sub-council had battled to get clarity from the City on where the traders should be moved from and to, he said.

In Parow Station Road Arcade most traders appear to be foreign nationals.

A woman from Somalia, who spoke through an interpreter, showed her permit, which costs R104 a month. She said she had been trading there for one year. 

Her neighbour, also not wanting to provide her name, said she had been trading there for two years and it was a good spot.

Both women denied they were causing congestion on the pavements and instead blamed those without permits.

On Saturday, there were no signs of building taking place in the very full car park next to Parow flea market.

A law enforcement officer said it was part of their job to monitor the traders, but he knew nothing about them being moved. He asked what would happen to the vehicles should they move to the car park.

At the sub-council meeting, Mr Jordaan said Parow flea market was a formal trading area and not much had been done to it over the years.

He said the toilets should be knocked down and rebuilt.

The City’s by-laws allow for 156 traders with permits in the Parow and Goodwood CBDs.

According to a City urban management report dated October 2019 and compiled by the urban management portfolio committee, there are 142 traders with permits in Parow and seven without.

Mayco member for urban management Grant Twigg said the City would be relocating the traders to Parow Station Road Arcade, between King Edward Street and Alexandra Road in February 2020, in accordance with the City’s informal trading plan of 2016.

The report says there has been much resistance from the affected traders about the move and that Area Economic Development (AED), a department within the City’s urban management directorate, has been negotiating with them since October 2018.

Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District (VRCID) chairman Derek Bock said they got ongoing complaints from businesses about unlicensed informal traders in front of their premises.

“They also leave all their litter at the end of the day as there are no bins for them. This results in the City and the VRCID having to clean up after them.
Our main problem areas are around the Bellville station and taxi rank. We call on the City to act decisively and put a proper informal trading plan in place to create areas for informal traders,” said Mr Bock.        
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