Where size counts

I suppose that being in the fresh produce business makes it inevitable that I classify markets according to their size – not unlike potatoes or certain fruit.

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When it comes to Extra Large, only one qualifies – Joburg Market. It’s more than double the size of its nearest rival and operates in a world of its own.

In the Large category, you’ll find Tshwane in the lead followed by Durban and Cape Town. All three have a turnover of more than R1 billion/year. We don’t know exactly what the turnover is of Cape Town Market as some years ago it opted to cease supplying its figures, making a mockery of the national statistics.

Medium, small and in between
When it comes to Medium markets we have to be a bit more careful, but like the wily potato sector we can introduce another category – Medium Small – to accommodate the smaller guys.Medium markets would include those with an annual turnover of between R300 million and R1 billion.

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These are:
Mangaung (Bloemfontein), East London (Buffalo City), Springs (Ekurhuleni), Pietermaritzburg (Msunduzi) and Matlosana (Klerksdorp).Their slightly smaller brothers who qualify as Medium Small (with annual turnovers of between R100 million and R300 million) are the following:

Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Metro), Welkom (Matjhabeng), Vereeniging (Sedibeng) and Mpumalanga (Mbombela).
Just as nature arranges the sizes of different fruit and vegetables, so we also have our Small markets (turnovers of less than R100 million/ year): Sol Plaatjie (Kimberley), Witbank (Emalahleni), Uitenhage (Nelson Mandela Metro), Kei Market (Mthatha), George Market (Eden Municipality) and Lowveld Market (Mbombela).

The two new regional markets in Mooketsi and Polokwane are bustling, but I don’t have statistics to place them in one of the size categories yet.

Shrinking markets
The markets within each category remain fairly static, but changes that stand out in recent years are Springs, which has dropped from 5th to 7th place and Port Elizabeth, which has fallen from 6th to 10th place. Changes like these are often an indication of serious internal problems that afflict most smaller markets.