Bid to keep local shop owners in business
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.