Deadline for foreign shopowners in KZN extended
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
“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.