Local government’s inability to enforce by-laws has been blamed for the decay of some South African cities.
Several market places in some parts of Johannesburg have been vacant for over a decade, as informal traders choose to sell on the streets, rather than use government-built facilities. This has resulted in some places becoming dens of filth and criminality.
In Dobsonville, Soweto, over 140 market-stalls were built more than 10 years ago – but they are still not being used. In most taxi ranks informal traders find themselves jostling for space with commuters.
Some informal traders say it was just a waste of money. “They built us containers while we wanted a permanent structure with the millions spent by government. They forced us these containers and these containers are choking and now there is no electricity and the toilets are also blocked. We have a problem because the stalls are small even the people who are cooking won’t be able to sit in there with their customers – The problem of the stalls they are little bit small for us at least if we can try to open it a little bit yes we can.”
Meanwhile, taxi operators blame the government for the deterioration of the city. The Dobsonville-Roodepoort Taxi Association’s Itumeleng Chambata says government has failed to enforce by-laws.
“The city has JMPD those JMPD people are working with the bylaws and the bylaws no one is supposed to sell on the pavement that’s number one and no one is supposed to sit on the pavement that’s number two. So, they don’t exercise the bylaws so we are where we are because the city doesn’t want to do what is supposed to do.”