JOINT PRESS STATEMENT: High Court issues critical victory for food security against City of Tshwane Municipality


3 November 2022

High Court issues critical victory for food security against City of Tshwane Municipality 

The Pretoria High Court has issued a critical judgment requiring that the City of Tshwane invest R18 million in the implementation of a precinct plan for the maintenance of the Tshwane Fresh Produce Market. This judgment flows from a case brought by the Institute of Market Agents of South Africa to address the critically dysfunctional state of a market that provides access to fresh produce for nearly 6,5 million South Africans.

The Tshwane Fresh Produce Market, the country’s second largest, hosts thousands of traders everyday who ensure that 6,5 million South Africans have access to affordable fresh produce daily. With a turnover of R3,5 billion per annum, the Market is a vital economic hub, which makes it difficult to understand why the City of Tshwane would allow it to deteriorate to the extent that it has.

After years of consultations with City of Tshwane without success, the only option available was a mandamus process. That this order had to be issued by the Court is an indictment of the neglect of the Market by the authorities in Tshwane. 

On 31 October 2022, Judge Meersingh issued an order that requires Tshwane Municipality to submit a precinct plan that addresses the occupational health and safety management at the Market, financial management, quality management, and details of its implementation.

The Municipality will be required to use its R18 million allocation for the Market on capital expenditure (R10 million) as well as operational expenditures (R8 million). The Municipality was also ordered to pay the IMASA’s costs for the application.

Agri SA has also written to the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development concerning the state of the Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market. In light of this judgment, we hope that action will be taken to address conditions at the market without the need for judicial intervention.

South Africa’s markets play a critical role in guaranteeing affordable access to quality produce for millions of South Africans, and local governments must recognise this critical fact. The undignified and unsafe conditions at our markets clearly point to the lack of appreciation for the centrality of produce markets to the country’s food security.