Cape Town - ANC Finance and Economic Opportunities spokesperson Nomi Nkondlo has demanded a briefing to the legislature on the provincial Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s collaboration with, and funding of, the Pick n Pay Market Store Project after the retailer put the project on hold.
Nkondlo was reacting to a written response to questions she had put to Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC Mireille Wenger on the issue of how much debt the shop owners incurred.
“From the inception of the project we were clear that this was not a project to boost the township economy, but instead was another mechanism for the big businesses to profit,“she said.
Nkondlo said she had many engagements with the shop owners about the project and they had complained about it leaving them trapped in debt.
“We intend to take this up in the legislature to get this information. We need to find alternative ways to make this market store project work for the store owners, not only the business owners,” Nkondlo said.
The department’s response was that the retailer had paused the project as it was developing a more efficient model, and that no new store openings were planned for the Western Cape this year.
Eight shops were opened since the start of the collaboration. Six continue to trade in partnership with Pick n Pay while two had their agreements terminated.
Nkondlo’s questions to Wenger were a follow-up to questions she had put to Wenger’s predecessor, David Maynier, in March this year.
The province said the collaboration had concluded and no funds were transferred to the organisation during the 2021/2022 financial year.
As at April 2022, the department had invested R3.6 million in the project.