Spaza shops ‘a quick way out’

2016-02-23 06:00

Residents of Petunia Street in Silvertown need not brave the dreaded crossing of a bustling Klipfontein Road to buy a loaf of bread.

During a sitting of Subcouncil 11 last week, the councillors present agreed to submit Sulaiman Abdol’s application to open a spaza shop on his property in Petunia Street to be approved.

At the meeting the Silvertown Civic Association expressed its objection, saying that Abdol was not truthful in his application, because he hadn’t mentioned in his application that he already received an income by leasing three wendy houses in his backyard.

On the other hand, Abdol had stated in his application that his shop would service the surrounding community while also providing a strategic position for passersby to buy daily essentials.

Despite the pending approval of the application, Suzette Little, ward 49 councillor, feels how spaza shops are generally run in her ward is not lightening the burden of unemployment nor is it is contributing to the development of the area as a whole.

“I just want the residents to keep an eye out, because one has got to look at the value these spaza shops add.

“If this person is so unemployed, why did he not start the shop himself? Why is he leasing it out to somebody else? If I am unemployed, I am going to do something for myself.”

Little says hardly any of the spaza shops found in her ward are operated by the owners of the properties the shops are on. Instead they are leased to others who actually run the shop.

“There is one spaza shop being run by the people themselves, but the majority of the shops are being run by somebody else.”

She also questions the business sense behind leasing a property for the running of a spaza shop instead of making more money by operating the spaza shop yourself.

“If people, really, truly want to start talking about upliftment then we must stop thinking about a quick buck and start looking at how we develop our own area.

“This is the quick way out, because there is no real interest in development, it is just a quick buck.”

She says that leasing a spaza shop is merely generating income rather than offering an opportunity to the rest of the community while running a legitimate business.

Little says the choice still lies with property owners and they are entitled to still apply for permits to conduct business on their premises.

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