The Denneboom informal traders protest outside the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria. Picture: Rapula Moatshe.

Pretoria - The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, has ordered informal traders at the Denneboom train station in Mamelodi to make way for a mall construction within 48 hours. 

Traders have been at loggerheads with the mall developers Interden Management Services and Isibonelo Property Services over their trading space.

They refused to relocate to an alternative space identified by developers on the grounds that it was far away from the train station, where they get their customers.

On Friday, developers of the R1.3 billion Tshwane Regional Mall brought an urgent court application with a view to get 29 traders and other unauthorised people to vacate the construction space.

Isibonelo chief executive Shadrack Mthethwa cited in court papers that disagreement with traders delayed the completion of the mall, initially scheduled to open in October 27 2017.

The mall construction started in 2015 and its opening has been planned for August 2019.

"The construction is now reaching the phase of the installation of bulk water and storm water pipes and electrical power lines.

Also the construction of access roads that will link the new mall to existing municipal roads and the rapid bus transportation system," Mthethwa said.

He said Isibonelo can only complete the mall on condition that traders vacate the space where the final construction activities have to take place.

Lawyers for Human Rights, representating traders, said the order was problematic because it overlooked the fact that it was not 29 traders affected by the situation.

Legal representative Thandeka Chauke said: "It is in our (court) papers that it is more than 170 informal traders."

She said lawyers for human rights would study the judgment before making a decision on whether or not to lodge an appeal.

Leader of the traders Mary Choma said: "The thing is capitalism works and money works against the poor. We are not willing to relocate because there is no space."

She expressed disappointment at the ruling, saying it was based on the untruth that there were only 29 traders on construction site.

"We are totally not satisfied because there is nothing that is true. We are not 29 informal traders," she said.

She expressed frustration that if traders were forced to relocate they won't have a place to do their business.

Pretoria News