File picture: Pexels

Johannesburg - They say this is their only option because there is a lack of safe storage facilities and it is costly to transport food and material home after work each day.

The vendors say they had stored their belongings in shacks and caravans in the CBD until the municipal Law Enforcement Unit ordered them to remove them. They bought gazebos to protect them against the harsh winter weather but had nowhere to store their goods safely when it was time for them to go home.

Meanwhile, in nearby Botshabelo, the Mangaung Metro had, in 2015, undertaken to build 222 trading stalls for hawkers. Phase one was completed in 2016 with 49 stalls handed over to hawkers by the executive mayor Olly Mlamleli. However, the construction of the remaining 173 stalls has stopped. The unfinished structures have become a dumping site and are being vandalised.

Dorah Raditabo, a hawker, welcomed the building of new stalls although she said business was slow compared to when they were operating in shacks and tents. The new stalls are built by bricks and equipped with water and electricity.

Qondile Khedama, the spokesperson for Mangaung Metro, says the construction of stalls came to an abrupt stop because the contractor has not yet been mandated to resume with Phase 2 of the project. “The construction hasn’t stopped. The city is currently working towards ensuring that the contractor is mandated to continue with Phase 2, but also considering this extension in the next financial year budget,” he said.

The then MMC (Economic Development and Special Planning) Papiki Moeng said the entire project was budgeted at R31m, he announced this at the official launch of the project in September 2015.

When asked when will the stalls be completed, Qondile reiterated his reply that the city is working towards mandating a contractor for phase 2 of the project. As for Thaba Nchu hawkers, Qondile says the metro still aims to revamp the CBD and hawker stalls will be built. 

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