Food waste being dumped on a pavement by a food vendor in Tzaneen.
Food waste being dumped on a pavement by a food vendor in Tzaneen.

The Greater Tzaneen Municipality, despite it’s claims of bylaws and permits and prosecutions, has yet again failed its business sector when it comes to the illegal street hawker pandemic.

This week the municipality once again claimed that they have health inspectors who will deal harshly with illegal food vendors operating on street corners not permitted by the GTM. The statement even claimed that the municipality was considering appointing business inspectors (the purpose of which is not at all clear).

“The municipality has recently granted permits to vendors operating within designated areas, including the old Checkers complex, Tzaneen Crossing, and Tzaneen Mall Taxi Rank, enabling them to prepare and serve food. As part of this initiative, skip bins have been provided to these vendors to facilitate proper waste disposal,” stated Vutivi Makhubele, spokesperson for the GTM.

“However, it is important to note that hawkers occupying pavements in various town corners without municipal permits are not recognized
by the municipality. At present, health inspections are conducted through Mopani District Municipality while we also look into appointing business inspectors.”

Two weeks ago we received video footage of a business owner in the old industrial area who was fed up with an illegal street food vendor occupying a corner opposite his workshop in Koedoe Street.

The food vendor would empty bucket-loads of offal and other meat waste onto the pavement outside his workshop. The man reported the matter to the GTM numerous times and nothing was done so he took the matter into his own hands. “We are fed up with this nonsense so we took a bucket and scooped up all the waste from our pavement and marched over to the food stall where we dumped it at their feet,” the business owner said.

Apparently, this situation has been an ongoing one for many years. The vendor however, paid no attention to the business owner and simply continued illegally dumping on the pavement. The business owner then approached them and offered help to dispose of the material the correct way. A few days later the vendor simply returned to the illegal dumping.

Considering the GTM’s statement above, and considering the number of bylaws that this street vendor is consciously breaking, one would expect the GTM to step in and dispatch their so-called health and business inspectors to the site to resolve the matter.

Apparently it is easier to request the culprits rectify the issue themselves. “To address this issue, unauthorized hawkers will be identified and subsequently issued with summons to vacate the premises. We urge the public to adhere to municipal regulations by applying for permits through the proper channels. Interested individuals should submit application letters, accompanied by proof of residence and certified copies of identification, to the LED Office located at 15 Peace Street.

Your cooperation in this matter is greatly appreciated as we strive to ensure compliance with municipal guidelines and maintain the orderly
conduct of business activities within our community.”