MARY CHOMA in front of some of the traders’ stalls at Denneboom railway station. African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - Informal traders at Denneboom railway station in Mamelodi have continued to defy a court order that they give up their trading area, which is needed for construction of a section of the new Tshwane Regional Mall.

The traders are now appealing the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria judgment ordering them to vacate their trading space in 48 hours.

Lawyers for Human Rights attorney Louise du Plessis, their representative, said the legal challenge was made on the grounds that the matter was not urgent as pronounced by developers Isibonelo Property Services in court papers.

Du Plessis said the appeal was again seeking to reverse the judgment, on the basis that it was unclear as to whom it was issued against. She said the order was made against 29 informal traders, while there were at least 170 people still trading there.

She said traders would be left in the lurch should the court order be carried out in its current form. “There's no alternative for our clients. They'll now be left without a space for trading.”

Du Plessis accused developers of having failed to comply with previous court orders to provide alternative trading space for traders.

Traders’ leader Mary Choma said people contracted to the developer tried to disperse them by spraying water towards their stalls. “They deliberately pushed our stalls, but we fought back. We are still trading from where we've been operating.”

She was adamant that traders were going nowhere until they had been provided with an alternative trading space.

In the past, the traders refused to relocate to a space identified by developers, saying it was far away from the train station, where they got most of their customers.

The construction of the R1.3billion mall started in 2015, and was initially scheduled to open on October 27, 2017.

Isibonelo chief executive Shadrack Mthethwa said disagreement with traders delayed the completion of the mall. Its opening has now been planned for August this year.

“The construction is reaching the phase of the installation of bulk water and stormwater 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 the mall construction could only be completed on condition that traders vacated the space where the final construction activities had to take place.

Pretoria News