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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The changing nature of informal street trading in post-apartheid South Africa: the case of East London's Central Business District
Authors:Holness, StephenISNI
Nel, EtienneISNI
Binns, Tony
Periodical:Urban Forum
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:informal sector
market vendors
External link:https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF03036623
Abstract:In South Africa urban planners, who have been educated with the idea of a neat and orderly Western city, are generally unwilling to accept the role of the informal sector, and particularly street traders. Negative attitudes and attributes, combined with the policies of apartheid, resulted in the widespread suppression of informal trading in the Central Business Districts (CBDs) of South African cities. Local authorities are now accepting that informal trading is an inevitability. The 1991 Business Act deregulated street hawking. Since then this activity has proliferated. In the cities, in their CBDs in particular, the potential for conflict with the formal sector is greatest. This paper examines the issues involved in formalizing and integrating informal trading more fully into the urban economy. It summarizes an unpublished study preparing the formulation of draft policy on informal trading in East London, a medium-sized coastal city in South Africa's Eastern Cape province with a population of over 500,000. The study focused on informal trading within the city's CBD, and the pedestrian routes linking it to various transport nodes. Street trading plays a significant role within the CBD and manifests itself in a number of spatial conflict situations and perceived problems. The data collected in the study refer to general characteristics of the informal trading sector; spatial clustering of business types and internal control mechanisms; ownership of businesses; problems experienced by traders; and the attitudes of formal businesses. The survey revealed several special aspects of informal trading activity, notably the prominence of fronting, on-street manufacturing, the participation of foreigners, and linkages between the informal and formal sectors. Finally, development strategies for integrating the formal and informal sectors are suggested. Bibliogr.