Eric Tsamba, an informal trader at Denneboom, says he has been left without a space to ply his trade because of the impasse with developers of the new mall. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/ANA
Pretoria - Tshwane Executive Mayor Solly Msimanga has added his voice to the ongoing impasse at the new Mamelodi Regional Mall, saying there had been a delay due to the commitments that were made by the developer.

Msimanga said the informal traders were going to be given containers, but these were not delivered on time and that created an uncomfortable situation. The containers had started arriving, he said.

Msimanga said the City hoped by next year certain phases of the project would be completed.

He said the completion of other parts of the project would enable the City to unblock some of the local roads. “The Watloo road coming into Mamelodi is congested. Every day people spend an hour or two in traffic just to get in or out of Mamelodi,” Msimanga said.

He said the City had identified alternative trading space for traders. “The informal traders didn’t want the spaces allocated to them. They are saying where they are there are no feet.”

He said everything would go back to normal for traders once the construction was completed. “It is not permanent and the contractor has said to them that there will be a space for them to trade once the construction is complete.

“With any kind of construction there will be some kind of inconvenience, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop the project. You will have to endure the pain and enjoy the fruits of the project thereafter,” Msimanga said.

Traders’ leader Mary Choma rejected accusations that they had refused to make way for a mall construction. She said only 40 containers were provided. despite there being more than 200 traders in Denneboom.

Meanwhile, Lawyers for Human Rights vowed to take legal action against the City of Tshwane and Isibonelo Property Services, developers of the R1.3 billion mall, for failure to honour a court order. The order stipulated they must provide informal traders with containers to ply their trade.

The informal traders and developers have been embroiled in an ongoing fight; the developers accuse the traders of refusing to vacate the land on which part of the mall must be built.

Attorney Louise du Plessis said the City and developers had not kept their promise to provide containers to informal traders following a court interdict obtained by human rights lawyers on behalf of the traders earlier this year.

“In terms of the court order, the developers and the City were not allowed to make it difficult for traders to trade,” Du Plessis said.

According to her, the City was also to blame for its failure to allocate alternative trading spaces.

Du Plessis said they had already sent 200 completed forms of traders to the City and told it to allocate space for traders. The City had, however, not responded to request by lawyers, she said. “It is extremely shocking that a big company like Isibonelo could ignore the court order.”.

When the Pretoria News visited the site yesterday, traders expressed frustration that they might be left out in the cold as contractors continued to clear the site.

Pretoria News