City attempting to evict Mitchell’s Plain traders

18 01 2009

Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release

The City of Cape Town has been attempting to evict traders and hawkers from Town Centre in Mitchell’s Plain for years.  The City refuses to consult with the actual traders and but instead deals with an undemocratic front organisation called the Mitchells Plain United Hawkers Forum that tows the City’s line on every issue.  A few months ago, the City passed a new by-law which allowed for the eviction of hawkers and traders from Town Centre which is seen as a blight on the ‘real businesses’ such as Shoprite, Pick n’ Pay and other big business chains.

The Mitchell’s Plain Concerned Hawkers and Traders (MPCHT), a democratic association of hawkers in the area representing over 800 traders, have been attempting to oppose their eviction but have been ignored and sometimes even lectured by City officials.  The following letter is an appeal by the organisation to Li Pernegger of Neighbourhood Development Programme Unit of the National Treasury to investigate how the 300 million rand allocated to upgrade the Town Centre was used without consultation and to the detriment of traders and hawkers in the area.

For comment, please call Mrs Mieshka Cassiem at 073 128 6657

Sea a previous press release on 27 July, 2008. See also this Voice of the Cape article.

For more research, see the City Council meeting minutes in which the City votes against the concerns of the traders citing that the undemocratic Umbrella Structure had already been consulted.  See also the map on page 20 which shows how extensive the prohibition of informal trading is intended to be.  It is essentially evicting all informal traders from the entire CBD area of Mitchell’s Plain if they cannot afford an expensive trading bay permit.

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Good day Mr Pernegger,

I refer to my fax that was sent to your office on  January 2009. Mr M. Hendricks from the City has contacted me and had a brief discussion regarding the Mitchell’s Plain Town centre CBD, however he has not answered our questions.  It was very unprofessional from a city official to call me up and explain a few things “telephonically”.  In the same time he advised me to take legal action. Officials and politicians must realise that they are playing with our livelihood which is so selfish.  “If” this process goes ahead the rich will get richer and the poor will stay poorer. This is a very, very serious issue.

We as traders are South African citizens as well and has the full right to a full breakdown of the R 304 000 000. 00, which was requested to upgrade the Mitchell’s plain Town Centre.

We request the following:

  1. A full break down of how this funds was used.
  2. Which companies received the contract from the City
  3. Was it properly advertised in the media.
  4. Are there still funds left.
  5. Which city officials signatures are on receipts.(Mr M Hendricks was very dubious)
  6. Which officials works with each other on this project.

Mr Hendricks could not answer me, but explained that he administer the funds.  We request the above by no later than the 24 January 2009.

Mr Malcolm Fritz of the city Ombudman’s office has our complain as well.  This problem has been going on for years where officials are dealing with and unconstitutional body, which is the umbrella body (Mitchells Plain United Hawkers Forum), but on councils report 1 May 2008 council accepts The  Mitchell’s Plain Traders Association to manage the Town Centre, which are the same people on the umbrella body, now according to the memorandum of agreement (31-10-1996)  council clearly states that the agreement is valid for six months only, which means this is nul and void. I often ask myself who is fooling who. I have proof of all these documents. Council officials are well aware of this but conveniently throws a blind eye to all this.  We had a meeting with Mr Paul Williamson, Mr Allistair Graham and Mr Waleed George with our attorney Mr I Higgins and Mrs L Swartz regarding the objections on 16 September 2008 and our objections was not resolved. Officials lied in their report to council stating that it was resolved.  I am in possession of an affidavid from our attorney, kindly advised if this should be faxed to your office.


We have lodge a complain with Mr Grant Pascoe as well on 25 November 2008 promising us that he would gladly assist us but on 3 December 2008 on full council meeting all the Democratic Alliance officials voted against the traders.  Do the officials realise how many of us will be unemployed?  We call on National Government to intervene in this matter.

The town centre is surrounded by a sub-economic area, where most of our people don’t even have decent home or a proper meal to eat on a daily basis, but funds was requested to upgrade the town centre. Why wasn’t these funds use to give better homes to the people of Mitchell’s Plain, but to upgrade a shopping centre for the private investors to invest in “OUR” township. Many years ago our parents was thrown out of District Six, now that we have sustained ourselves over the years, government comes again and want to remove the traders against there “will” from their current trading bays, this is going to lead to bloodshed. We call upon all “HONEST” officials to come out to us as the traders and hear what we as traders have to say. Officials are public servants and there salaries gets generated from the rate payers monies and we form part of the rate payers. We do not want  Mr Waleed George of Golden Rewards, he clearly states that he has embarked on a full and extensive public participation with the traders, this is a blatant lie. How can this process go forward with all this corruption. I thought corruption lies only in National Government? Makes us wonder what’s happening in the City which is govern by the Democratic Alliance Party. If this process was followed correctly we would not go this far as to make everyone aware what is taking place in Mitchell’s Plain.

As the public we request a full  investigation into this matter.

Kind regards,

Mrs M Cassiem
Vice Chairlady
MP-CHATA
CONCERNED HAWKERS AND TRADERS
Tel: 073 128 6657

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