Eviction worry for MP traders

27 01 2010

2010-01-27 05:42:24 – VOCFM

The Mitchells Plain Concerned Hawkers and Traders Association (CHATA) have expressed concern about threats by law enforcement officials to continue evicting informal traders. This follows an earlier decision by the City of Cape Town to halt the eviction of traders from the Town Centre last year. According to Mischka Cassiem, spokeswoman for CHATA, some of the traders who had relocated to the new trading area in Mitchells Plain have now moved back to the Mitchells Plain Town Centre to trade there because they found that the new trading area did not cater to their needs.
“We have now discovered that those traders who have moved, have in fact returned to the Town Centre and that clearly shows that no feasibility studies have been done on this project that was presented to the Hawker Forum.” Cassiem explained that they are calling on the City to go back to the drawing board and restart the entire process as they felt that the process was flawed. She said that this point had been raised with Ivan Anthony who is the manager of the urban renewal area in Mitchells Plain.

“The relocation is actually not working at the new market, everybody is complaining, saying they are not making enough money and that they want to come to the old trading area,” she said. “At workshop that was held in November last year, it was discussed that no evictions would take place and those traders who did not register must remain in the existing trading bays.” She said that the same sentiment had been echoed by Anthony at the workshop.

Continued evictions

They are now questioning why the City of Cape Town is continuing with the evictions, whilst there is still negotiations in place and when no agreement had been reached. Cassiem said a workshop around this issue will be held in February this year, but that no date has yet been set. She said that an e-mail has been sent to Mayor Dan Plato with a list of complaints about the proposed relocation of traders. To date she said the Mayor has still not replied to their e-mails.

According to Cassiem, a meeting was held with law enforcement officials last Friday. She said that they had asked the Chief Law Enforcement Officer when the law enforcement officers would be coming into the Town Centre, but did not receive an answer. Cassiem explained that they had reliably learnt that the City has decided that the relocation process will continue, despite the objections raised by the hawkers in the area.

“A source that was sitting in a meeting with the city regarding the fate of the traders told us that for every e-mail CHATA sends, they will ignore the e-mail and just act upon what they have already decided within the meetings that have been held. So they are negotiating on the one side with the different bodies, but by word of mouth we are then told we cannot trade at the current venue. There is no way that we are going to stand for this,” said Cassiem.

Chata will be having a meeting at the Epping Market on Wednesday morning at 10am. All hawkers and traders are welcome to attend the meeting. According to Cassiem, the meeting is supported by Fine Bros, Golden Harvest and all the agents at the Epping Market. Cassiem said the Epping Market is against the eviction of the traders as informal trading accounts for 70% of their business while supermarkets only account for 30%.

Response

Meanwhile, Paul Williams, the Service Coordinator: Business Areas Management Economic and Human Development for the City of Cape Town told VOC News that the Mayor of Cape Town had not committed himself to “micro-managing” the Mitchells Plain Town Centre Informal Trading situation and that the City of Cape Town had not committed itself to holding another workshop.

Williams said the Mayor had committed to a workshop which took place in November last year, which was represented by the leadership of all the Mitchells Plain Town Centre Informal Trader Organisations. According to Williams, issues around safety and security, management, infrastructure development, allocation process and an umbrella body structure was raised.

“The Executive Mayor, Dan Plato and Mayoral Committee member for Economic Development, Felicity Purchase both addressed the workshop and stressed the need to build better relationships, in order to achieve a positive goal.” Williams said that at the workshop it was further emphasized that the informal traders need to comply with the City of Cape Town by-laws, especially the congested informal trading in the walkways and the lanes, which a disaster was waiting to happen. VOC (Dorianne Arendse)

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