Cleaning up Pretoria painful - mayor

2012-07-16 20:59
Efforts to clean up Pretoria city centre will be a painful process that must be tackled, says Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa. (File, Beeld)

Efforts to clean up Pretoria city centre will be a painful process that must be tackled, says Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa. (File, Beeld)

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Pretoria - Efforts to clean up Pretoria city centre will be a painful process that must be tackled, Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said on Monday.

He told reporters the city was putting in effect a long-term strategy, dubbed Tshwane 2055, to overthrow "anarchy" in the capital city.

"It’s going to be a very painful exercise and there will be casualties," he said.

"People are used to the status quo and we are tampering with that status quo. Naturally, people respond by resisting."

The city has been at loggerheads with informal traders and some residents who were forced to vacate their stalls and flats.

On Monday, Tshwane Hawkers Association chairperson Shoes Maloka said his organisation was planning a protest march in the city this week.

The Schubart Park Residents Committee also said it had scheduled its protest march for 26 July.

"They have the right to march and we [will] give them the necessary permits to march. They should march in a manner that is consistent with the law; we will take the pain," said Ramokgopa.

Tshwane was engaging in a strategy to re-vitalise the city centre, which was being shunned by many people. The strategy was aimed at attracting businesses investment to the inner city.

"We want to bring life into the inner city. Part of the problem we are dealing with is that the city goes to sleep at six in the evening. We want to have some residential character - where people can wine and dine."

Ramokgopa said the municipality would soon announce the launch of an operation code-named "Reclaim".

Earlier, the Tshwane Hawkers Association said due to the municipality’s efforts to regulate hawkers in the inner city, some young people had been left with no means of income, resorting to crime.

"Many young people have now abandoned the honest business of selling. Some have resorted to crime while others spend days gambling around the city to eke [out] a living," said Maloka.

"Since January, we have not been able to make money through selling in the city. Remember most of us are breadwinners and we have many [financial] commitments," he said.

Maloka said the vendors were incensed because the city officials were relocating them from their usual stalls to new posts on the outskirts of the city.

- SAPA
Read more on:    kgosientso ramokgopa  |  local government
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