Greenmarket traders fight City of Cape Town in court

The Committee of Traders of Greenmarket Square (CTG) launched an urgent application in the Cape High Court late on Friday to stop the City of Cape Town from taking over control of the square.


The CTG’s lawyers, advocate Michael Osborne and attorney Brian Lutzno, said the threatened takeover of control, if not stopped, would effectively halt the informal trading at the flea market, which has been vibrant for at least nine years.


The city has already warned that law-enforcement officers would be at the square on Saturday to remove traders without permits.


The chairperson of the CTG, Mohamed Ibnouf, said in an affidavit that he started trading at Greenmarket Square in 1995.


He said the purpose of his application was to permit himself and other traders to continue in the face of the city’s threats to remove them.


He says all traders received a circular from the city at the end of October, informing them that the city would itself manage the square between December and the end of February next year, and that each trader would have to pay R400 a month for a permit to trade.


The circular said each trader had to produce his or her permit on demand, and that failure to do so would result in the termination of his or her rights, and the site being re-allocated.


A second circular, in November, warned that the “full assistance of the metropolitan police service would be available on December 1 to ensure a clear transition to the new informal trading system”


The second circular warned that the principle, “no permit, no trade”, would apply.


He said his reaction, and that of other traders, was a feeling of great concern and apprehension, especially as many of them had been unable to obtain permits.


He added: “We simply cannot afford to have our trading disrupted at this crucial part of the year.


“We fear that any interruption would be disastrous, and that once ejected from the square, the traders would not be allowed back.”—Sapa


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