Beach vendors anxiously awaiting permits

The vendors operate on Camps Bay beach where hundreds of people flock to the beaches on hot summer days.

Several men and one woman who sell refreshments at Clifton and Camps Bay beaches are waiting for an answer regarding their permits to trade informally on the beach.

Vincent Cedras, 62, from Strandfontein, operates at Clifton beaches selling bottled water, cold drinks, ice-cream and renting out deck chairs.

“I applied in April for my wife and myself and we still don’t have permits. My permit expired in May and we want to get ready for the next school holidays. We went to the civic centre to complete the forms and we are waiting,” Mr Cedras said.

Mr Cedras says that the vendors work together and use each other’s permits to operate on the beaches.

“I work with other vendors and sometimes they can’t make it to work here so we use their permits, that is allowed. We inform law enforcement when there are guys selling alcohol on the beach as we don’t do this,” he said.

“It’s really unfair that we are being treated like this and we can’t do our jobs. They are not helping us and there’s quite a few of us and some work in Llandudno as well,” Mr Cedras said.

Faizil Khan, 63, said he has been selling goods on Clifton beach for 12 years and is upset at what is happening with their permits.

“I haven’t received a call regarding my application which I did earlier this year. It’s affecting my income and it’s difficult. I want to buy shin guards for the kids that play soccer and I can’t even do that,” Mr Khan said.

“We (vendors) look out for our customers and we keep the beach clean, we don’t want problems at our beaches,” he said.

Zenobia Thorne, 45, from Mitchell’s Plain, is the only woman selling goods on the beach and she has been doing this for 10 years now.

“I am working with Mr Cedras as he allows us to work with the permits he has. I applied for myself but I’ve had no response from the department that issues the permits,” Ms Thorne said.

“It’s unfair what they are doing to us and our customers are hoping that we return to the beaches that we serve because we have built up relationships with them,” she said.

Councillor Paul Jacobson of the Freedom Front Plus raised the issue, claiming he had received multiple complaints from traders because he had also been a beach trader.

“Even before I became a councillor in 2021, I learnt of the gripes inflicted upon the Coloured Beach Traders. They complained that their trading rights were being handed over in favour of Black Africans. They complained that there was little law enforcement and that many illegal traders were selling without permits and were also selling alcohol to minors,” said Mr Jacobson.

“It is alleged that when these matters were raised, years ago with the City officials, that some traders, including Mr Cedras, were punished and their permits not renewed. A few years later they were reinstated and continued to trade, as normal, still with the aggravation of not knowing their longevity nor security,” he said.

The City says there is an appeal process under way and will comment once it is concluded.