Khayelitsha meat traders clashing with ward councillor over stall renovation
Cape Town - The Nonkqubela Informal Traders in Khayelitsha are at loggerheads with ward councillor Thando Mpengezi because they were not consulted on the renovation of the informal trader stalls.
The project, which is in progress, will see the 28 stalls receive a fresh coat of paint and repairs made to roller doors, but leaving the centre still dilapidated with no roof or paving.
Nonkqubela Informal Traders organisation chairperson Vusumzi Skeyi said the project was not presented to stakeholders by the ward councillor and the City.
“We were surprised by telephone notification that the contractor will be on-site the following day. There was no clarity and outline on how and what will be done and who will look after the project and the time frames.
“This raised suspicions of corruption activities. The ward councillor disrupted communications and previous engagements about the development of the centre with the City of Cape Town,” said Skeyi.
Skeyi said numerous traders had lost business as a result of the renovations, while some were working while renovations were going on.
“The stalls were vandalised as early as 2014 and there has been no maintenance ever since. They stood there as white elephants all these years. Vandalism occurred while there is a security company there, and while roofing and paving was stolen during the land invasions nearby. They are painting the stalls while they have no electricity, roofing or paving and bypassing us,” he said
ANC spokesperson for economic opportunities Nomi Nkondlo who joined the traders on Monday said the lack of communication by government institutions with poor communities remained a challenge.
“Small businesses in historically disadvantaged communities continue to raise that they are not serviced properly. In trying to resuscitate our economy the president and the premier continue to speak about infrastructure-led growth as the backdrop of recovering the economy.
“If you are expecting people to reboot the economy - which, at the centre, is small businesses - you are supposed to have a conductive and enabled environment where they can operate,” said Nkondlo.
Mpengezi dismissed the claims as misleading. He said the budget that was allocated by the City was for painting and roller doors for stores that were functioning.
“The service provider explained why it needed to start with painting and the roller doors because the budget was enough for that. We know that the stalls have no electricity and roofs but there will be more developments that will take place,” he said.
Mpengezi could not say how much budget was allocated for the project saying that the City sent a service provider that had been already appointed.