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Inner city informal traders as key social agents in governing security : an exploration of policing arrangements in Warwick Triangle.

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This dissertation explores the way in which ordinary citizens in Durban take responsibility for security. The study focused on an organisation, Traders Against Crime (TAC) that was formed in 1996 by informal traders in Warwick Triangle in response to multiple safety challenges in the precinct where they trade. It examined the role played by this non-state security formation in generating safety in the Warwick Triangle precinct in the city of Durban. Drawing on the nodal policing mapping framework developed by Benoit Dupont, this dissertation maps out how this security ‘node’ fits within the broader network of nodal security actors in the Warwick Triangle area, and how the relationships between these actors change as a result of context, resources and power relations. The dissertation demonstrates that the TAC has been a central node in the governance of security in the Warwick Triangle area. Indeed, at times, it has been the primary actor, rather than the state police. The dissertation therefore interrogates the mentalities and technologies used by the TAC in its quest to govern security. While there is little doubt that the TAC generated a greater sense of safety in the area, the ways in which they did so were not always considered ‘legitimate’ or even ‘lawful’ by other actors, such as the public police. Despite this, the nodal relationships between the TAC and the public police are complex and somewhat ‘liquid’. The relationships between the various nodal actors can be characterised as both co-operative and competitive, as the various groupings trade-off and exhibit their ‘capitals’ and capacities. While the TAC provides a ‘bottom-up’ policing service, their effectiveness and sustainability is dependent on the response and support of state bodies such as local government and the public police which are neither guaranteed nor consistent. Furthermore, the sustainability of organisations such as the TAC is dependent on the commitment of volunteers, most of whom are struggling to make a living in the informal economy.


Master of Social Science in Community Development. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College 2014.


Dealers (Retail trade) -- South Africa -- Durban., Community policing -- South Africa -- Durban., Urban transportation policy -- South Africa -- Durban -- Citizen participation., Theses -- Community development., Traders Against Crime (TAC), Warwick Triangle.