Constitutional Court rules in favour of Johannesburg traders

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Informal traders demonstrate outside the High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday, 26 November 2013. The SA Informal Traders' Forum and SA National Traders' Retail Association (Santra) are seeking to interdict the City of Johannesburg.

JOHANNESBURG - The City of Johannesburg says it accepts Thursday’s court ruling that allows informal traders to return to their spots, but it has also warned that it will continue to clamp down on illegal trading in the inner city.

The city said it will assist in the implementation of the court order while enforcing its by-laws that are designed to tackle illegal trading.

City of Johannesburg said it still remains committed to its quest to develop a viable trading space that will help reduce congestion, crime, grime, littering and a general breakdown of other services in Johannesburg.

“The City has already started with a process of proclaiming and de-proclaiming trading areas in and around the inner city. The City aims to develop the sector and its participants to be commercially viable, and this will in turn contribute to the economic growth of the City and the quality of life of its citizens in a sustainable manner,” said a statement from the City of Johannesburg.

The city was ordered to pay the costs of the application. The court ordered the city not to interfere with informal traders operating on the streets.

Last Wednesday, the High Court in Johannesburg ruled that the application by the traders to return to their trading spots was not urgent.

The hawkers were represented by the SA National Traders and Retail Alliance (Santra) and Saitf. They asked the high court to order the city to allow them to return to the pavements of the inner city to trade.

They were removed so the city could verify how many informal traders were operating in the central business district, but were not permitted to return.

Santra and the Saitf approached the Constitutional Court, seeking an order for the hawkers to return to the sites where they previously traded.