Poorman’s Friend to stall after 50 years?

2016-02-23 06:00
Faizel Hendricks (centre) says the stall he runs on the corner of Jan Smuts Drive and Klipfontein Road has been all he’s known for 40 years. PHOTO: Earl Haupt

Faizel Hendricks (centre) says the stall he runs on the corner of Jan Smuts Drive and Klipfontein Road has been all he’s known for 40 years. PHOTO: Earl Haupt

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The shelves devoid of fruit and vegetables; the shed steadily emptying of the wood it usually houses.

This was the sight this week of the longstanding Poorman’s Friend stall on the corner of Klipfontein Road and Jan Smuts Drive. The stall, which has been in operation for almost 50 years, has come under scrutiny in recent weeks following complaints from residents.

Issues residents have range from unnecessary disturbances to the area the stall allegedly brings to the actual structure of the stall and the land it is situated on.

The stall’s owner and operator, Faizel Hendricks, claims Law Enforcement officials visit his stand up to five times a day to follow up on complaints – complaints that are false, he says.

“I am starting to feel very threatened that my stand is going to be taken away, although they can’t, because I am here for over 40 years.

“My father was here for over 50 years and this is a father-to-son business and it is the only thing I know.”

Hendricks says he has a permit to use the space for trading.

Meanwhile, Gaironesa George, leader of a group of Athlone informal traders, has put her weight behind Hendricks after the group was asked to intervene. George mentions that Hashiem da Costa of the City’s department of economic and human development asked them to get involved.

“Da Costa just felt the need to involve us to go and approach the neighbours to see if we can resolve these issues they have with Hendricks. The issue that was raised concerns the police, Metro Police and social services.”

Livelihood in jeopardy

Hendricks says he feels his livelihood is being taken away from him because of a personal issue.

“All the years it was okay, but for the last six years we have had problems. It is a problem with one of our neighbours.

“We grew up together and [my neighbour] doesn’t have a problem with the stand, but has a problem with me,” says Hendricks.

Hendricks says this neighbour told him they were going to see to it that his stand is taken away.

Suzette Little, ward 49 councillor, agrees the issue has been on the table for the better part of six years, confirming the complaints and Law Enforcement’s visits to the stall.

She points out that the space filled by Hendricks’s stall is on a road reserve and is not purposed for the erection of permanent structures to host the activities he is conducting, such as seniors events.

“Things like building permanent structures on a road reserve cannot happen because it is not allowed,” Little says.
She says in the past the stand was not a permanent structure with a foundation.
“The people were not saying that they have to move, they were merely asking them to cease the other activities that are causing a disturbance to the community,” adds Little.

She does, however, question why there is a foundation and a floor in it.

“Every time we question, the same answer is given: his father was there before. Now if my father was a murderer and went to jail and he had done it before, it does not give me carte blanche to continue what my father had done.
“When the residents objected, something very strange happened. A certain person with Hendricks and other traders went to the residents and harassed them. Now why did they do that if they are legally there?”

Little says she has asked for an investigation.

“Law applies to everybody. You don’t just claim in the name of your father – that is not a status, there is a law and if that law applies to you, then that law must apply to other people as well, because everybody is trying to make a living. Just apply the law equally; some are not more equal than others.”

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