Bid to keep lo­cal shop own­ers in busi­ness

The Mercury - - NEWS - Samkelo Mt­shali

THE con­tro­ver­sial North­ern Re­gion Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion (Norba) has urged its strug­gling mem­bers not to shut up shop and rent their premises to for­eign­ers.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion, which is seek­ing to help lo­cal shop own­ers stay afloat, yes­ter­day in­vited its mem­bers to ap­proach them for as­sis­tance.

Norba had re­cently given for­eign shop own­ers, in­clud­ing those from So­ma­lia and Ethiopia in the Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK) town­ships, an ul­ti­ma­tum to shut down their shops by yes­ter­day.

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 by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Wil­lies Mchunu en­sured that the dead­line for shops to shut was pushed back to May 24, and will be fol­lowed by a ver­i­fi­ca­tion process to reg­u­late trade in the INK area.

In a meet­ing with close to 200 of its mem­bers held at the Bester Com­mu­nity Hall, in Inanda, 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 or­gan­i­sa­tion also com­plained about the in­flux of for­eign shop own­ers set­ting up their shops close to those of the lo­cals, which pushed the lo­cals out of busi­ness, as the for­eign­ers charged less due to their abil­ity to get dis­counts by buy­ing in bulk from whole­salers.

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

Sman­gele Xulu, Norba chair­per­son, said they were in sup­port of the reg­u­lat­ing of in­for­mal traders to en­sure that their busi­nesses achieved growth, in­stead of be­ing put on the pe­riph­ery by un­reg­u­lated busi­nesses run by for­eign­ers.

Ahmed Mo­hamed, from the KZN So­mali Com­mu­nity Coun­cil, said he was con­fi­dent li­cens­ing would not strictly be re­quested of for­eign na­tion­als, but across the board.

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