Dead­line for for­eign shopown­ers in KZN ex­tended

The Star Late Edition - - NEWS - SAMKELO MTSHALI run by for­eign

THE CON­TRO­VER­SIAL North­ern Re­gion Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion (Norba) has urged its strug­gling mem­bers not to shut up shop and rent their premises to for­eign na­tion­als, but rather to ap­proach the or­gan­i­sa­tion for as­sis­tance.

The as­so­ci­a­tion recently gave for­eign shopown­ers, in­clud­ing those from So­ma­lia and Ethiopia, in the Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK) town­ships an ul­ti­ma­tum to close their shops by Wed­nes­day.

Mem­bers of the or­gan­i­sa­tion, at a meet­ing yes­ter­day, also had a chance to regis­ter their trad­ing de­tails on the city’s busi­ness sup­port depart­ment sys­tem for their li­cences.

How­ever, Tues­day’s in­ter­ven­tion of KwaZulu-Na­tal Premier Wil­lies Mchunu en­sured that the dead­line for shops to shut down was pushed back to

May 24 and would be fol­lowed by a ver­i­fi­ca­tion process to reg­u­late trade in the INK area.

In a meet­ing with close to 200 of its mem­bers at the Bester Com­mu­nity Hall in

Inanda yes­ter­day, Norba said most of its mem­bers had been forced to shut their shops and rent them to for­eign­ers, who now oc­cu­pied most in­for­mal shops in the INK area.

The as­so­ci­a­tion also com­plained about the in­flux of for­eign shopown­ers who opened shops in close prox­im­ity to the lo­cals and put them out of busi­ness be­cause their prod­ucts were cheaper.

“The prov­ince says we should work to­gether on this process be­fore May 24 so that by the next day, we can of­fi­cially start clos­ing shops that are giv­ing us prob­lems, those of the for­eign na­tion­als and some of our own peo­ple who have not been at­tend­ing Norba meet­ings.

“Af­ter May 24 we will come back to re­port to you about which shops will be closed,” Norba spokesper­son Mlungisi Mn­cube said.

Sman­gele Xulu, Norba’s chair­per­son, said they were in sup­port of the reg­u­la­tion of in­for­mal traders to en­sure that their busi­ness achieved growth in­stead of be­ing put on the pe­riph­ery by un­reg­u­lated

busi­nesses na­tion­als.

“The prices of the for­eign na­tion­als are low and they en­sure they beat those set by the lo­cals and that pushes lo­cals out of busi­ness. We’re hope­ful that the govern­ment will give us li­cences to op­er­ate,” Xulu said.

Ahmed Mo­hamed, from the KZN So­mali Com­mu­nity Coun­cil, said he was con­fi­dent that Mchunu’s in­ter­ven­tion would yield pos­i­tive re­sults and that li­cens­ing would not strictly be re­quested of for­eign na­tion­als but across the board.

“Li­cens­ing is a com­mon prob­lem be­cause there are by-laws in the eThek­wini mu­nic­i­pal­ity, be it a for­mal or in­for­mal busi­nesses be­ing reg­is­tered, it’s the same is­sue. It’s not re­lated par­tic­u­larly to So­ma­lis or Ethiopi­ans or other for­eign­ers. It re­lates to ev­ery­body across the board,” Mo­hamed said.


PEACE BID: KZN Premier Wil­lies Mchunu, provin­cial chair­per­son Sihle Zikalala and eThek­wini deputy mayor Fawzia Peer at the meet­ing with in­for­mal traders in KwaMashu.

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