Beach vendors selling cooldrinks and ice-creams on Cape Town’s famous beaches face an uncertain future as the City debates whether to withdraw their permits.
Although the vendors have become part of Cape Town’s summer scene as they walk along Camps Bay and Clifton with cooler boxes and slogans such as ‘a lolly for your dolly’ and ‘water for your daughter’, they were last week informed that their future is uncertain.
Vendors say they have been told the city’s received complaints about bags been stolen off the beach and vendors been rude, said Charles Harris, 41, who has worked on Camps Bay beach for four years.
He said vendors were being blamed for thefts they were not responsible for.
“The law enforcement tries to blame us”, said Harris. “They’re supposed to watch the beach 24 hours, but do you see them anywhere around?”
He said law enforcement officers and security guards only patrolled along the street at least 500m away and rarely walked on the beach, but when stolen items were reported they put the blame on vendors.
Another problem was vendors working on the beach without a permit from the city and giving legal vendors a bad reputation, said vendor Zereny Kleinveldt, 48.
“There’s a lot of pirates around,” said Kleinveldt.
But being unable to sell cool drinks and ice-cream on the beach would leave vendors like Harris and Kleinveldt with no income and many of the vendors have worked on the beach for years.
Without proper education they stand little chance in a competitive job market and many of them are breadwinners for their families.
“At the moment it isn’t going too well”, said Kleinveldt, who earns between R40 and R60 a day.
On these earnings he supports a wife and three children.
According to the vendors, the city council is looking at setting up fixed stands to supply beachgoers with cooldrinks, ice-cream and snacks.
However, the city has been tight-lipped. An email from media liaison officer Melissa Papier stated: “The current Policy is currently being reviewed by the City of Cape Town. The fixed site for beach traders will not be implemented and no vendors will be banned on 1 December.”
There was no indication when a decision would be made or what options were being discussed. - Nadine Ellinger