[LISTEN] How the migrant trade in JHB is serving SA

Town planner and visiting academic at the Wits School of Architecture Dr Tanya Zack has dismissed the narrative that all migrant traders in the Johannesburg CBD are selling counterfeit goods.

She says while police are warranted to tackle the sale of illegal goods in a procedural manner, the problem takes place in a context of something much bigger.

She explains how the migrant trade has benefited South Africa.

That takes place within a bigger context of a very big trade that is happening in that area of affordable clothing - a lot of it not counterfeit. It is South Africa dealing in fast fashion through Johannesburg and it is a trade that is serving Sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr Tanya Zack, Town planner and visiting academic - Wits School of Architecture

We did a study in 2017 where we estimated that those coming right across the border are spending over R10bn in the inner-city of Johannesburg each year, that is twice the annual turnover of Sandton Shopping Centre. It is an enormous trade, it is an enormously important to our economy.

Dr Tanya Zack, Town planner and visiting academic - Wits School of Architecture

Migrants have rented space or bought buildings in that space. They have transformed the property market, the property market in that space is booming, formal developers are benefiting from what the informal sector has led in this country.

Dr Tanya Zack, Town planner and visiting academic - Wits School of Architecture

We are taking away from a really important part of our economy.

Dr Tanya Zack, Town planner and visiting academic - Wits School of Architecture

They have made affordable goods available for the poor in those spaces, there is a very big viable and legal trade happening - it is also affected and shut down in these raids.

Dr Tanya Zack, Town planner and visiting academic - Wits School of Architecture

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