Authorities from the KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development Department and the Ethekwini Municipality have closed down illegal businesses in and around Durban. This is part of efforts to clamp down of the sale of illegal goods.

Authorities visited business premises at Chesterville outside Durban and Point Road in the CBD. Most of the businesses did not have operating licences.

MEC for Economic Development and Tourism in KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala, together with the Mayor of the Ethekwini Municipality, Zandile Gumede, visited business premises at Chesterville, north of Durban.

The owner of a container that sells cooked food was not present, but officials issued a letter that reminds him to get a license.

Some operators were not happy to see the officials.

“Listen, if you want to know something, you must come to me and consult me! What are you doing here? Don’t come here like this, don’t! Is this the way you operate and you work anonymous?”

Zikalala and Gumede proceeded to Point Road where businesses are dominated by foreign nationals.

Gumede was not impressed with an explanation given by the municipal officials about how the merchants obtained operating licences.

Some food items had to be taken off the shelves as it had expired. However, the owner of the shop denied that he is selling expired food.

Zikalala says the campaign is part of ensuring that all operators have trading licences.

“We have taken a decision that irrespective of a colour or whether one is a foreign national, we are just dealing with business regulation. We want to ensure that all people who are trading are trading within the law, are registered within the municipality. Two, we are going to support small traders and we are going to all municipalities dealing with illegal traders. This is not the last time, but we are coming to other parts  of Durban.”

Zikalala emphasised that the department will work with other departments to ensure that no goods enter the country illegally.

“Some of the things we have identified here are not even registered with SABS. Clearly, some are imported into the country illegally. And we are engaging with Home Affairs in that regard so that we even tighten that space and ensure that any goods that are coming into the country are properly registered and manufactured in areas we know.”

Ethekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede was not impressed with the way trade is conducted in her municipality.

“I am really embarrassed and what I am seeing today and this area needs to be looked upon . As a Mayor, we are putting our foot down and say those who are supposed to do their job must do their job, as things like these need to be picked up by relevant people and we are responsible for that work.”

The campaign is expected to promote fair competition among small business.