Street traders, regulation and development in the eThekwini Unicity : an assessment of the new informal economy policy.
This research paper looks at the issues that arise when implementing the regulatory regime governing street trading in the city of Durban. It does three things. First, it provides a comprehensive overview of the context of the street trading policy environment, in an attempt to set out the various discourses surrounding street trading regulation in the eThekwini municipal area from colonial times till the present. Second, the paper looks at the institutional profile of street trading and related issues within the operations of the city bureaucracy as part of the argument that its structural location determines, the attention and support that the sector gets. Consideration of related institutional variables such as location, budgeting, management strategy, and human resources revealed that the paradigm shift proposed by informal economy policy has occurred to some extent. However there are views that the organizational logic and culture of the municipality undermines speedy problem-solving mechanisms. Third, the paper explores issues that have to do with the impact of the changing regulation and institutional environment on the operations and livelihoods of street traders. Regulation is operationalised as registration, spatial allocation, enforcement and system capacity. The related experience of the regulatory regime suggests that implementation remains a problem in transforming a progressive policy intention.