DURBAN - ORGANISATIONS have rallied to rebuild part of the Isipingo Market south of Durban after it was destroyed by fire during the civil unrest last month.
The initiative called Rebuilding for Hope and Prosperity (Rehop) was created by several concerned Muslim organisations in an effort to rebuild and upskill the lives of Isipingo’s fruit and vegetable hawkers, made up of both African and Indian traders.
Some of the organisations include the Association of Muslims for Accountants and Lawyers, Growing Hands Enterprise Development NPC, Minara Chamber of Commerce, Muslims for Humanity, National Awqaf Foundation of South Africa, South African Muslim Charitable Trust and the United Ulama Council of South Africa.
Rehop said the section of the market that was destroyed was central to the fabric and history of the area.
The group’s spokesperson and co-ordinator Shabir Chohan, said Rehop was committed to rebuilding the city.
“We have to create social cohesion that is the fabric of stability. We see this Rehop initiative as an imperative, and by taking one step at a time, we hope to contribute to the emergence of a new dawn where all South Africans can feel safe, secure in the knowledge that they have a future,” he said.
Chohan said without these micro-business enterprises, the owners and their families would face bleak prospects for the future as they provide a basic income.
He said with this in mind, Rehop came up with an intervention that would not only have a socio-economic impact on the hawkers but also benefit the community as well.
According to Chohan, Rehop would have immediate access to accounting, legal, business, finance, humanitarian and even pastoral skill sets.
The initial focus of the group would be based on a micro-finance model consisting of grants, loans and commercial funding for qualifying candidates, he said.
“It is at grassroots where we feel the work has to be done. The funding of the hawkers gives them the opportunity to start-up again, and to contribute positively to the economic recovery of the area,” he said.
Chohan said the rebuild also provided an opportunity to upskill and empower the traders as well.
“This is a golden opportunity to help them grow beyond what they were before. Maybe some of them can even become big business owners one day,” he said.
He further explained that the eThekwini authorities, the fruit and vegetable suppliers, financial institutions and experts were all on board working towards the same goal of uplifting the market.
Chohan added that Rehop had already obtained two shipping containers that were delivered on site on Saturday to serve as a temporary office in place of the permanent office that was petrol bombed and gutted.