Pretoria - The City of Tshwane’s multimillion-rand project to build trading stalls for informal traders in Marabastad as part of phase two will go ahead as planned.
This was despite outstanding complaints that the first phase stalls were small and did not adhere to specifications agreed to by the traders.
Yesterday, traders told the Pretoria News that their efforts to raise complaints with the city council had fallen on deaf ears.
Barekisi Forum secretary Mary Ngema said the phase one stalls looked like pigsties. “I think that even pigsties are much bigger than those stalls,” she said. According to her, traders agreed with the city council to build stalls with enough capacity to accommodate bulk stocks, but this had not happened.
For example, she said, a trader with 200 crates of tomatoes should be able to store the bulk stock inside the stall.
Ngema said the city council would have to continue building small stalls in phase two to avoid potential conflict among the traders.
The city council had proposed to meet with the traders, to ensure that they were involved in phase two, but Ngema said the proposed engagement was likely to be a fruitless exercise.
“They will engage with us but the thing is that they won’t do the right things or what we had agreed upon,” she said.
Unified South African Traders’ leader Ramodike Morema said although he welcomed the development he was unhappy about the stalls already built.
“We were never involved in the first phase of the project, and … the informal traders are complaining that they are very small,” he said, suggesting that the new stalls should be at least 6m².
MMC for economic development and spatial planning André le Roux assured traders that his department would engage with the organisations and all affected informal traders “to ensure that their full involvement in the project is in line with the city’s policies and to ensure that the project spending is transparent”.
He said the city had allocated R7 million for the phase two construction of Marabastad trading and marketing stalls.
He said the project was consistent with the recently passed Township Economic Amendment Bill, which strives to rebuild the economic geography of the country’s townships and under-served neighbourhoods.
The project would include the construction of a new ablution facility for meat traders, an overnight storage facility, bulk tomato stalls, a bakery, a tuckshop, food stalls, restaurants and a new boundary fence for meat traders.
It also featured the refurbishment of the meat-chopping facility, and the installation of high-beam solar lights and smart prepaid meters.