Policies block small businesses

Arthur Pillay, Westridge

On many occasions, the government (and) President Cyril Ramaphosa have mentioned that South Africans should become sustainable, and encouraged the start-up of small business.

Why is it that the City of Cape Town makes it so difficult for this to happen with their policies and by-laws?

A 47-year-old male, living in Rondevlei, suffered two strokes last year.

He works from home as a mechanic.

He applied to the South African Social Security Agency for assistance.

I make use of his services and not once did I hear him revving a car while working on it, nor are their cars parked in the street or on the pavement.

He has been working from home for years without any complaint from the neighbours.

Subsequently, I believe that a neighbour had contacted the City anonymously.

All he is trying to do is support and sustain his family.

His services come with high standards at the lowest prices, which really sustains his fellow neighbours.

My concern is that there are so many back-door mechanics working from home, as well as informal traders selling from home.

One only has to look at iSiqualo informal settlement on Jakes Gerwel Drive, which has hairdressers, a car wash, crèches and many other unregistered businesses, including mechanics.

Why is the law good for one, and not the other?

Or is the City waiting for somebody to complain, before they react?

How are people struggling to put food on the table able to apply for zoned premises or stick to the City’s rigid by-laws?

This lockdown period has affected almost every South African.

Help them to help themselves. Do not shut them down by taking away their livelihood.

Wayne Dyason, spokesperson for the City of Cape Town’s Law enforcement, responds:

There are processes that need to be followed before a person can operate a business from a residence.

Law Enforcement officers are mandated to deal with transgressions of the City’s Land Use Enforcement Policy.

In terms of this policy any person who thinks a landowner has not received the necessary permissions from the City with regards to land use – for example, running an “unauthorised” business from home illegally can submit a complaint to the City for investigation.

Official complaints must be in writing and the City has a responsibility to investigate the matter.