Frequently Asked Questions
The Joburg Market, with its R8 billion annual sales, provides real opportunities, and it is a good idea to understand it well. But a first time visitor to the Joburg Market, or a farmer looking to sell his produce, will find that there are challenges to get the most out of it.
These FAQs will answer many questions you might have, and equip you for a profitable and enjoyable market experience!
Introduction and Directions
Who will benefit from buying at the market?
Any person, shop or organisation that would like lower prices, a variety of produce and freshness will benefit. Families, grocers, restaurants, hotels, hawkers, spaza shops, charities and big supermarket chains buy from Joburg Market. Any organisation where there is a central dining facility will benefit from the market. Early risers can start buying at 5 am in the morning, but must finish by 11 am (or 10 am on Saturdays and Mondays).
How can the market help me as a customer?
The produce market sells more than 120 different products. Prices are lower than those at supermarkets and there is more choice of quality and product size on offer than at supermarkets. Buying starts at 5 am and ends at 11 am Tuesdays to Fridays, but until 10 am on Saturdays and Mondays. The Mandela Market has more flexible hours.
Cash traders who operate from another two halls, sell additional products such as dried beans, maize meal, biscuits, frozen chicken and snack foods at lower prices than supermarkets.
On the downside, the market is not as convenient as a supermarket when it comes to payment methods and moving produce to your vehicle.
Where is the Joburg Market located?
The Joburg Market is situated in City Deep, an industrial suburb located about 5km south-east of Johannesburg CBD. You might know it by its former name, Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market.
Directions to the Market in Google Maps or Waze
Buyers and visitors can specify either “4 Fortune Road” or “Bowles Road, City Deep” in Google Maps or Waze. Delivery trucks can type “Joburg Market Deliveries Gate” or “Fig Place Road, City Deep” in Google Maps or Waze.
Which entrance do vehicles of buyers and visitors take?
The entrance gate for buyers and visitors is at the intersection of Fortune and Bowles Roads, City Deep, namely 4 Fortune Road, City Deep.
The exit for all vehicles is on the western edge of the market, exiting to Vickers Road.
Where are the fresh produce hubs?
As you drive into the main entrance of the Joburg Market area, you will see five long halls in front of you. The middle three halls form the heart of the market. From left to right (or east to west) are the Vegetable Hub, the Fruit Hub and the Potato & Onion Hub. Behind the Fruit Hub is a separate covered area where watermelons are sold in bulk lots.
The surrounding cash-based produce traders in the Market complex get their supplies from these three hubs.
Where should I enter the enormous halls?
The produce halls, each 400 metres long, are divided internally into different-sized sections that are assigned to the market agents. The biggest sections are many times the size of the smallest sections. The sections of some market agents occupy both sides of the central aisle, while in other cases a market agent will occupy only one side of the passage. All sections provide access to the passage that runs the entire length of each hall. So it does not matter which door you enter by. However some agents insist that you leave by their particular exit if you have bought produce from them. This is because you need to hand over a Removal Slip when exiting with your purchase.
What are the opening hours of the main market?
The market is open to customers in the morning from 5 am to 11 am (10 am on Mondays and Saturdays).
Deliveries to the market by farmers are in the afternoon and night between 2 pm and 4 am, Sunday to Friday.
The Mandela Market and the other retail outlets have more extended hours.
Where can customers park?
Parking and loading space is available between the 5 halls and also close to the Mandela People’s Market. Two less busy areas are next to the southern end of Hall 2 (where the market agents’ admin offices are situated) and on the western side of the Fruit Hub, across from the Potato Hub. You can walk across the parking lots to move between halls. Or you can walk from any hall to any other hall on the raised driveway at the southern end of the halls. But be alert, as this driveway is always busy with forklift trucks transporting produce from one place to another.
The Buying Process
What is the buying process?
Customers walk through the produce halls, namely the Vegetable, Fruit, or Potato & Onion hubs. They can compare prices, quality and availability between the market agents. These agents occupy floor space of different sizes, arranged next to or across the aisle from each other.
The customer points out to the salesperson the items and quantities required. The salesperson will give a price, and if it is accepted he will write a code on a slip of paper. The customer takes this slip to the agent’s hut and presents his buyer’s card. The operator places the card onto a card reader and prints out three slips and deducts the cost of the purchase from the card. One of the slips is a Removal Slip that is presented at the exit of the agent’s area.
The customer finds a porter or carries the purchased produce himself. There is sometimes only one exit door available from that agent’s area, though sometimes one can exit into the middle passage. If the exit door is on the opposite side of the hall from where your vehicle is parked, you could be in for a long walk as each hall is about 400 metres long.
What payment methods can I use?
A very important thing to know about the market is the method of payment and recording of sales. Buyers can only pay at the market by presenting a “buyer’s card” that has been preloaded with cash. Ordinary credit and debit cards cannot be used at the market! The market’s computer system deducts the purchase value from the card and generates receipts and a delivery note that is called a “removal slip”. At the same time the computer system stores details about the sale.
With a removal slip in hand, the buyer can take his purchase out of the hall to his vehicle.
What and where are customer care centres and cashiers?
Customer care centres are the offices where prospective customers can apply for buying cards. There is a customer care centre in each of the three produce hubs. They are situated about halfway down the halls against the walls.
The centre for the Vegetable Hub is on the western side of the hall (that is, on the right as viewed from the Market Administration building). It is located next to a two-storey face brick building that houses the cashiers. Door number 418 is the nearest entrance door.
The centre for the Fruit Hub is on the eastern side of the hall (that is, on the left as viewed from the Market Administration building). It is located next to a two-storey face brick building that houses the cashiers.
The centre for the Potato Hub is on the western side of the hall (that is, on the right as viewed from the Market Administration building).
There is also a customer care centre in the Market Administration building. It is on the left as you walk into the building, just before the baggage scanner security setup.
Cashiers (where you can top up your card with cash) are located in each hall, and in the Administration building. The main cashiers are located in 2-storey brick buildings at the side of each hall. There are several cashier windows in each of these buildings. There are also smaller one-window cashiers located close to the centre aisles of the halls. In the Vegetable Hub there is an additional multi-window cashier building situated in the RSA market agent area, located against the end-wall at the northern end of the hub.
How do I get a buyer's card?
Apply for a buyer’s card at one of the customer care centres, which are located in the three produce halls and in the main Market Administration building. You will need to fill in a form and present a South African ID, or a passport if you are from another country. The card is issued on the spot, so there is no delay.
Do I need to be an SA citizen to get a buyer's card?
No, but if you do not have a South African ID you will need to bring a passport when applying for a buyer’s card.
Who can get a buyer's card?
Buyer cards can be obtained by anyone who can present a South African ID or a foreign passport. For each card there can be many “sub-cards” so that an organisation can have several buyers doing purchases in different halls at the same time.
Can I get more than one card for my account?
Yes. For each card account there can be many “sub-cards” so that an organisation can have several buyers doing purchases in different halls at the same time.
How can I find out the remaining balance on my card?
You can find out how much is left in your account at cashiers and customer service centres.
- You can get a printed statement at customer service centres.
- You can get your account balance over the phone at +27 (0)11 992 8083. Have your card number ready.
- The “remaining balance” is printed at the foot of every Market Sale Note – Customer’s Copy. This is the receipt that a buyer receives after paying for a product with the buyer’s card.
Is there an ATM at the market?
Yes. There is a Standard Bank ATM and an FNB ATM next to the entrance to the Administration Building. Standard Bank operates a branch in the same location.
Can I pay with credit card, or cash, or EFT?
In the main produce halls, namely Vegetable, Fruit and Potato & Onion, only the official buyer’s card supplied by the Market can be used. The card has to be loaded with rands by depositing cash at a cashier or by making an EFT deposit. Credit cards cannot be used in the produce hubs.
In the surrounding trading areas, cash is accepted and the buyer’s card cannot be used. This applies to the shops and traders in Hall 2, Hall 9, the Unity Market, the Mandela People’s Market and Giants Cannery.
How do I know the reference number for EFT banking?
The reference number to be used for EFT is printed at the top right of your statement, next to “Your Bank Ref.” You can also phone and ask for this number at +27 (0)11 992 8083. Also printed on the statement are the Market’s bank account details at Standard Bank, which you should use for EFT. Note that the reference number is not exactly the same as your account number, as it has a few extra digits to it. (Also note that your card number and account number are completely different numbers). Customers who have a Standard Bank account must choose the predefined beneficiary for EFT purposes, and not try to create a new beneficiary. The predefined beneficiary is known as “City of Jhb Fresh Market”.
How can I prevent spoilage when buying in bulk?
Some fruits and vegetable spoil more quickly than others. To prevent the more perishable varieties from spoiling when bought in bigger quantities, it might help the householder to buy produce for more than one family when shopping at the market. Informal buying groups can be formed by:
- Lift clubs (work and mom’s taxi)
- Book clubs
- Bridge clubs
- Church groups
- Neighbour groups
- Work colleagues
- Extended family
Then the purchases can be split into small enough quantities that can be consumed more quickly by families. Standard shopping lists of favourite items can be created. Items on the list can then be purchased weekly or fortnightly, with different group members assigned to visit the market according to a roster.
Remember that for many types of fresh produce, keeping it in a fridge will prevent spoilage.
Where do customers of Joburg Market come from?
In addition to customers from the greater Johannesburg area, trucks arrive regularly from distant towns such as Bethlehem in the Free State and Vryburg in North West province, to load up supplies from Joburg Market. They are joined by big trucks from Zambia, Lesotho, Botswana and Mozambique.
Where are farmers situated?
Farmers who sell their produce through the Joburg Market are located throughout South Africa and nearby countries such as Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi.
How do market agents arrive at a price?
There are no auctions at the Joburg Market. The market agents set their own prices for the day (or even the hour) based on supply and demand.
Can I negotiate for a lower price?
Yes. The market agents set their own prices for the day (or even the hour) based on supply and demand. As there is no set price the sales people do not have to stick to the displayed price. Often the price is displayed next to the produce, but not always. In the Potato hall, the agents display different buckets filled with various sizes and conditions of potatoes, along with the price for a 10kg or 7kg bag. Usually big potatoes are listed at higher prices than small ones. There are no auctions at the Joburg Market.
Do they give you plastic bags for your shopping?
No. Produce is bought as-it-comes, usually in bags, boxes or trays.
Do they have shopping trollies?
No. Freelance porters with trollies can be hired to move your purchases to a vehicle. For bulk buyers, the market agents will provide forklift trucks to carry pallet-loads to vehicles. Some individuals bring their own portable luggage trollies to move their purchases, or they simply carry the goods. Porters charge about R10 for a trip and can be identified by the reflective vests they wear.
Do they have someone to help carry purchases to my vehicle?
Porters with trollies can be hired to move your purchases to a vehicle. For bulk buyers, the market agents will provide forklift trucks to carry pallet-loads to vehicles. You can bring your own portable luggage trolley.
How easy is it to load a buyer’s vehicle?
Whether your vehicle is a car, a bakkie or a large truck, there are ways of loading it up. The halls are surrounded by raised platforms that are about the height of a big truck’s load bed. Forklift trucks or manual pallet jacks can bring loaded pallets to the edge of a platform. Pallet jacks can then be used to move the produce within the truck’s load space. Smaller bakkies and vans can reverse up to a platform to be filled. There are ramps leading to the general parking area so that any vehicle can be reached from the platforms by porters or buyers.
How can I move between halls?
You can walk across the parking lots or along the driveway located at the southern end of the halls. This raised driveway is not suitable for a casual stroll as it is heavily used by forklift trucks. You must stay alert!
How do I know what produce is available?
Walk down the central passage of each hall to see the displays of produce. You can check the quantities and values sold the previous day across 160 products on the official Joburg Market website
What is the range of products?
You can see a list of about 160 products on the official Joburg Market website.
What role does Joburg Market play?
The City of Johannesburg is the sole shareholder of Joburg Market. The Market provides the infrastructure used by market agents and the surrounding traders. It operates a laboratory there also. In return the Market receives a 5% commission on all sales from the produce hubs.
How does Joburg Market make its money?
Joburg Market charges a fee of 5% on all produce sold in the three hubs.
What is the compass orientation of the main halls?
From inside the market premises and looking towards the main entrance gate in Fortune Street, the halls are aligned north-north-east.
Do Market Agents import produce?
Market agents sell produce from neighbouring countries and further afield such as Spain and Egypt.
What is the history of the market?
The original market was established in 1893 in Market Square in the Johannesburg CBD, and subsequently moved to Newtown. It moved from there to its current site in City Deep in September 1974. In 2009 its name was changed to Joburg Market, from Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market.
What is the market’s annual turnover?
Annual sales of produce at the market are about R8 billion (R8000 million).
Are there toilet facilities at the market?
Toilets are located in small buildings situated in the parking lots between the halls. Toilet paper is doled out at the entrances.
Is there a café at the market?
There is a sit-down café in the central island of the parking lot area between the Vegetable Hub and the Fruit Hub. There is another eatery between the Fruit Hub and Potato Hub.
Can I take my kids to the market?
It would not be advisable to take small children to the market – there are too many hazards such as forklift trucks and high platforms. Children 10 years and up, however, may benefit from the experience.
What hazards to look out for?
On the platforms surrounding the halls, there is a lot of busy forklift traffic moving pallet-loads of produce. Keep a watchful eye.
Who owns the market?
The Joburg Market is wholly owned by the City of Johannesburg. Selling of the produce is the job of about 15 market agents who are independent of the Joburg Market.
Who are the farmers/suppliers?
Commercial farmers from across South Africa and neighbouring countries supply produce to market agents, who sell on their behalf. Some products are imported directly by market agents from overseas and are sold at the market.
Where can I get more information about details of the market?
Information about the market, including daily sales volumes and values, is available on the official website of Joburg Market.
Other Markets & Shops
Where can I get smaller quantities?
The main market hubs sell in reasonably small quantities (depending on the kind of commodity) as well as in quantities that fill large trucks. Outside of the three hubs, there are other shops and markets in the Joburg Market precinct that offer smaller quantities for purchase.
What other shops and markets are available at Joburg Market?
For shoppers who prefer to use cash rather than the buyer’s card, there are some options in the Joburg Market precinct:
Unity Market and Pallet Traders Market are a collection of smaller outlets that operate out of garage-sized buildings situated between the vegetable and fruit hubs. They are at the southern end of the market, at the back of the platform that joins all the hubs. Their products are laid out on the platform and carry price indicators. They get their produce from the main market hubs.
Mandela People’s Market is similar to Unity Market with a collection of stalls and a large unwalled space covered by a roof. To find it, turn left after driving through the main entrance gateway and left again into the parking lot. This market closes later than the main market. As with the Unity Market, they source their produce from the main market hubs. Shopping carts and bags are not provided. Porters can be found to help with carrying.
Apple Queens is a grocer shop located at the northern end of Hall 2. They stock a good variety of fresh produce in smaller quantities. They do provide trollies that you can push down a ramp to your vehicle.
Biscuit Mart and Food for Life are located in Hall 2 next to Apple Queens. Biscuit Mart sells only biscuits. Food for Life sells a variety of dried beans, maize meal and similar products in small and large packs at significantly lower prices than big supermarkets.
In Hall 1 there are shops, among them Morningdew and Rebelo, that sell packaging materials of the type that a farmer would use to package his produce, like sacks and bags. They also sell agricultural equipment, fertiliser and seeds.
Market Cash and Carry sells a variety of goods and is located next to the main administration building. Turn right after the main market entrance and right into the parking area after passing the administration building. They do accept credit cards. There is also a bottle store there.
Next to the parking lot of Mandela People’s Market there is a row of small shops, including a fishery.
Hall 9 is the last big hall, located on the western end of the market. Here there are a number of wholesale shops. They sell large tubes of snacks such as coloured popcorn, cooldrinks as well as bulk quantities of commodities such as rice, nuts, and dried soup mixes.
Giants Cannery is an on-site cannery situated at the southern end of the precinct. You have to drive right around to the back of the complex in order to buy from it. They sell a range of canned vegetables, soups and jams. They are not set up for shopper convenience, but their prices are good. Twelve cans in a pack is their minimum order.
What are the Mandela People’s Market’s opening hours?
The official opening hours are 6 am to 11 am Monday to Friday, and until 10 am on Saturday. But the Mandela Market (its short name) is usually open until later than that.
Directions and opening hours for Giants Cannery
To buy from Giants Cannery, you must drive all the way round, in the direction of the Deliveries gate, to behind the halls, i.e. the south side of the market precinct. After driving through the main entrance gate, turn right and follow the ring road to the back of the market. Due to the construction underway to extend the Mandela Market, which has blocked the ring road on the eastern side, it might be better to enter the Market using the Deliveries entrance, near the Flower Market. Opening hours for purchases are from 9 am to 4 pm, Mondays to Fridays.
Is Multiflora flower market part of Joburg Market?
The flower market is located nearby in City Deep, off Vickers Road. But the City of Johannesburg, which owns Joburg Market, does not own the Multiflora Flower Market. Multiflora runs auctions for flowers, and there are also flower shops and other shops such as for bridal accessories on its premises.
Who owns the produce on the floor?
Farmers send their produce on consignment to the market agents. This means that the farmers remain as owners until their products are sold to customers.
What role do the market agents play?
Market agents are businesses that represent farmers and sell the products to customers who come to the market. The agents have helpful sales people stationed at the three hubs to serve customers. The market agents do not buy from the farmers. Instead they receive a negotiable commission of around 7.5% for managing and selling the produce. Produce prices are set daily by individual market agents based on supply and demand, but auctions are not used at the Joburg Market.
How many market agents are there at the Joburg Market?
There are about 15 market agents at the Joburg Market. Some are established and very big, while others are just getting started.
Where are the market agents’ admin offices, and what are their hours?
Most agents have offices upstairs in Hall 1 or Hall 2. Preferably phone the offices of the market agents before 2 pm in the afternoon.
How can I find a market agent to sell on my behalf?
If you are a farmer and are looking for a market agent to help sell your crop of fruit or vegetables, we can help by introducing you to a selection of agents. You can send a request by phone, email, or filling in the form on the Contact page.
What are the costs to the farmer?
Farmers retain ownership of their produce until it is sold to a buyer. When it is sold, the Joburg Market takes a 5% commission and the market agents a negotiable 7.5% commission. Farmers pay the cost of transport to the market.
What about the cost of waste?
Market agents use cold rooms for overnight storage where necessary, and try to minimise waste by reducing the price of produce that is beginning to spoil.
What are delivery hours for farmers and transporters?
Officially, deliveries can be made between 2 pm and 4 am, Sunday to Friday.
Which entrance do farmers and transporters use for deliveries?
Trucks making deliveries should use the Fig Place Road entrance, turning left from Vickers Road, City Deep. Signposting for the road to the deliveries entrance is not very clear.
(Note that the Fortune Road / Bowles Road entrance is for buyers and visitors only.)
Here are directions if you are travelling from the Johannesburg CBD on the M31 Heidelberg Road: Take the Vickers Road exit, which is clearly marked. At the robot, turn right. Drive past the Engen Garage. Turn left at the next intersection, which leads directly to the Deliveries gate. (For a landmark, before turning left you will be able to see an old mine headgear in the distance on your right, which is opposite the Multiflora flower market.) Trucks should use the Vickers Road exit to leave the market.
The Buyer’s Card
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