Mitchell’s Plain traders walk out of meeting with the City

27 05 2009

AEC Press Release on behalf of CHATA
Tuesday, 26 May, 2009

Today in Mitchells Plain at the Southern Terminal at 12h30, a meeting was held with the Concerned Hawkers and Traders Association (CHATA) of Mitchells Plain, and Cape Town officials, as well as a firefighter official working for the city of Cape Town.

The Traders Association sat for the meeting, but called it off at the beginning because they are in opposition to the city with respect to the allocation process of trading bays in Town Centre, Mitchells Plain. The Trader’s Association thanked the City for inviting them to the meeting, but claimed that they have been marginalized, manipulated, and ignored in the process of reallocation. The City has been aware of the opinions of the Traders and their opposition to the process, but yet went ahead with allocation yesterday.

On the 7th of May, 2009, the Traders Associaton objected to the allocation process due to the fact that only half of the traders in Town Centre, Mitchells Plain will receive bays in the shopping centre after the coming renovation. Knowing this objection, but also claiming that they had already listened to the people and acted transparently in their decisions, the City processed the reallocations on the 25th of May, 2009. The City has claimed that the re-allocation of bays is due to a new fire regulation bylaw that implies that the majority of bays in the shopping centre are blocking access for fire trucks and need to be opened. This new bylaw has been recently imposed and is set to be implemented by the City without the consultation and participation of consumers and the traders in the area (and without consideration of national legislation). Furthermore, these same bays were demarcated in 2004 by the City, during which time there was no technical fire hazard as the new bylaws were not in place because the pillars at the entrance also prevents firetrucks from entering.

In their current reallocation process, the City is encouraging disputes by ‘playing favorites’ amongst the Hawkers and do not have the interest of the Traders in mind while making decisions regarding their future. Instead, they are only thinking about the demands and desires of big businesses such as Shoprite, Jet, etc

The Traders Association is fighting the just cause for the poor and know that they are being misled and lied to so that the City may further their own agenda in upgrading Mitchells Plain as an area for private investors. The City has claimed that they have done all they can do in this matter which is clearly untrue if one investigates the issue thoroughly and looks at the pattern of anti-informal trading renovations in CBD areas throughout Cape Town.

In response, the traders have a plan of action for a future public march and are also prepared to take further action at the high court.

All are also invited to show their solidarity for the Mitchell’s Plain traders and help fundraising on Friday night, May 29, 2009, after 20h00. CHATA will be hosting a Karaoke night at Portland Community Center in Mitchell’s Plain.

For further information, please contact Mischka at 0731286657

For previous statements and further research on this issue, click here.

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