The local government elections are once again on our doorstep. The incumbent councilors have had a steep learning curve dealing with all the challenges associated with the pandemic while ensuring essential economic services continue, including informal economic activity and public space trading. The next five year term, and the incoming councilors will not have it any easier; building back the economy better will be one of the many challenges they face, including dealing with a COVID-19 which is most likely to be a factor to contend with for a while yet.

These Public Space Trading Guidelines for Local Government 2021 – 2026 are not only well-timed, but are a critical addition to the tools which local government can use to bolster local government’s regulatory and developmental response to the informal economy and public space trading specifically.

Many municipalities are already leading the charge when it comes to support and regulation of the informal sector. If these Local Government Guidelines are implemented by each municipality, each prioritising the short term and systemic issues required in their jurisdiction, we will at the end of the five-year term hopefully be able to measure, some modest outcome changes for public space traders, for whose benefit these Guidelines are ultimately developed.

These Guidelines make governance recommendations requiring an executive arm of government to lead and convene a national coordination structure responsible for streamlining policy and support in times of disaster and relative calm alike. It is my hope that this critical action is implemented without delay. SALGA is committed to playing its role in a fit for-purpose IGR structure designed to support municipalities in their regulatory role and realising the lofty ideals of its developmental role.


Note:  An extract from the foreword to the publication by SALGA CEO, Xolile George.

These Guidelines are a compendium of three documents:  

  • Guideline 1:  Policy guidelines for enabling governance of informal trading in public space
  • Guideline 2:  Framework by-law guidelines for informal trading in public space
  • Guideline 3: Guideline for health, space and infrastructure: toward safe and viable public space trading.