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Municipal support mechanisms for street traders: a case study undertaken in the CBD OF Ethekwini Municipality.

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The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (RSA, 1996) makes provision for local government to create an environment that enables citizens to make a living for themselves. As a young democracy, South Africa is facing a continuous increase in street trading, especially in urban spaces. Street trading has become an integral part of the country’s inclusive economy. Thus, municipalities have the responsibility to allow citizens to use public spaces for street trading. This research was conducted to explore the municipality’s support mechanisms for street traders in the CBD of eThekwini Municipality. Research was based on the Public Service-Dominant Framework. The research used a qualitative method of enquiry through a single case study. This was an empirical study applying open-ended questions, thereby allowing respondents to provide in-depth information about the research objective. A focus group discussion with ten street traders was conducted, after which it was complemented with a semi-structured interview with key informants from the municipality. Findings revealed that the municipality has support mechanisms in place, but these do not talk to the needs of street traders. Thus, recommendations were made for a participatory policy intervention to ensure effective communication between the municipality and street traders. Interventions should focus on improving the quality of support provided, which is ultimately aimed at empowering street traders so they can contribute to sustainable local economic development, including a strong law enforcement agency to remove illegitimate traders. The research study concluded by recommending educational programmes, both formal and informal, aimed at improving the socio-economic status of street traders.


Masters Degrees. University of KwaZulu-Natal. Pietermaritzburg.