WiredPRNews.com – Press Release Service – eThekwini (Durban), South Africa – June 23, 2009 – Traders from the Warwick Junction Market of eThekwini (Durban), South Africa are enduring police harassment, including being shot with rubber bullets, in a bid to defend their livelihoods. For these traders, their income is vital to the survival of their families. Even during the economic downturn, the city is prioritizing building a shopping mall for the upcoming FIFA 2010 World Cup over the survival of thousands of traders and their families.
Standing between the municipality of eThekwini and another shopping mall is a century-old market and the traders who have been trading there for generations. Destroying the market will affect 800 traders working in the Early Morning Market, as well as thousands of street vendors working in the area who will be forced into marginal trading spaces with few passing feet. Research shows that these vendors support large families often struggling with the impact of HIV/AIDS.
The manner of this unilateral decision being forced through without real input from the traders themselves is in stark contrast with earlier consultative efforts by the city with traders. In its previous interactions with traders in Warwick Junction, the city had displayed a unique combination of social solidarity and creativity. The municipality of eThekwini has won international acclaim for the work it has done with traders in the past, including in 2008 the UN Habitat / Dubai International Award for Good Practice.
Traders have been joined by a group of academics and architects in condemning the municipalities’ proposal, not only due to the impact on traders’ livelihoods, but also for what it means for the city’s entire urban fabric.
The Early Morning Market at Warwick Junction
Traders have been selling fruit and vegetables at the Warwick Junction Early Morning market for decades. The market building celebrates its 100 anniversary in 2010. Many of the current traders have inherited their business from their grandparents and great-grandparents.