Hawkers fight crime

2017-08-01 06:00
Noleen and Renaldo Fernandez and Abduragmaan Alexander are car guards at the field across from the Town Centre where many people park for the day. While People’s Post was conducting the interview, they stopped petty thieves from making off with hubcaps.          PHOTO: Samantha lee

Noleen and Renaldo Fernandez and Abduragmaan Alexander are car guards at the field across from the Town Centre where many people park for the day. While People’s Post was conducting the interview, they stopped petty thieves from making off with hubcaps. PHOTO: Samantha lee

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A collective effort to see an overall improvement in the Area South informal sector will soon be implemented by a group of organisations in the area.

Hawkers against Crime, an organisation started to help combat crime in the CBD, are part of the coalition tasked with implementing a pilot project championed by the mini-mayors.

While conducting an interview, People’s Post too fell prey to would-be petty criminals who attempted to make off with our vehicle’s hubcaps.

Standing in their way were three informal car guards – Abduragmaan Alexander, and Noleen and Renaldo Fernandez – who have worked at the field across the Town Centre for more than a decade. “Badges, hubcaps, batteries, wipers and even aerials are the target of thieves here,” says Alexander.

Around 40 cars are parked on the field every day, says the trio, who ensure they are not harmed while motorists shop and visit the library, court or police station.

Sulaiman Petersen, Hawkers against Crime chairperson, says parking and trolley assistance are two aspects of the proposed plan.

Petersen says they have been in talks with businesses and informal traders to ensure a list of deliverables can be implemented to assist the City of Cape Town.

There is no particular rollout plan at this stage, says Eddie ­Andrews, Mayco member (South).

“Informal traders in certain areas across Cape Town have been interacting and engaging with the City, formed trader associations, trader committees and trader forums,” he says.

This has in some instances evolved into two coalitions (or cooperatives) of traders and trader associations, Andrews says.

“These are the United Khayelitsha Informal Traders Association (Ukita) and the Western Cape Informal Trader Coalition (WCITC),” he adds.

In recent months, Ukita and the WCITC have been engaging in discussions about amalgamating and forming a single body representing informal traders in the municipal area and aligning with a national informal trader body, explains Andrews.

“These discussions are well advanced and are going well,” he says.

At this point the Mitchell’s Plain United Hawkers Forum, Hawkers against Crime and 5th Avenue Traders Association have also collectively agreed to be part of the single representative body, Andrews says.

Deliverables were presented to the coalition that will help implement the project throughout the City’s Area South, which includes several other areas in the Cape Flats and ­beyond, Petersen says.

“The coalition invited us recently to sit with the mini-mayors. We needed to get the ball rolling to assist the City with waste management, innovative recycling methods, parking assist, trolley assist and security as a whole,” he says.

“Our main objective was to enhance the security not just in the informal sector but also the business sector and that of the customer and commuter using the CBD.”

Petersen says being part of the coalition gives them a better platform to raise concerns about service delivery with key roleplayers.

“Service delivery is a big problem.

“Not only for us on the receiving end but also those who deliver the actual service,” says Petersen.

The parking and trolley assistance will see those working there formalised, hence resulting in job creation.

“We already have the police on board to screen the people working with the parking and trolley assist,” says Petersen.

“By doing this we make them accountable and give them a sense of responsibility.”

A followup meeting will take place on Thursday to further expand on the initiative. This will include informal traders also working outside the CBD, says Petersen.

Operationally, the Town Centre will also be the site of a 14-day crime-free project, piloted in Mitchell’s Plain in partnership with police and other City Law Enforcement agencies.

The initiative is also being carried out in the other City areas with the mini-mayors there.

“The City fully supports these representative bodies and has been meeting with them on a regular basis.

“In addition to the above, the City also respects the constitutional right of individual traders and trader associations to constitute or not to constitute,” says Andrews.

The coalition consists of organisations to represent a variety of sectors, Petersen ­explains.

“We want to open up a line of communication for organisations to come on board to assist in implementing this project,” he says.

“We need to create a unity platform on grassroots level to serve on a structure reporting to a higher level.”

For more information call Sulaiman Petersen on 072 363 0161.

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