Freedom Square open for business

2008-12-03 00:00

The Freedom Square taxi facility was officially opened yesterday after a delay of almost a year, which resulted from complaints by taxi operators and informal traders that they were not consulted about some of the decisions taken by Msunduzi Municipality on their behalf.

Taxi operators, informal traders and Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo emphasised the importance of keeping the R21 million facility clean.

Hlatshwayo said the facility belongs to the people of Pietermaritzburg and she urged residents to use it proudly. She said the facility has already won two awards — one for occupational safety and another for technical excellence from the South African Institution of Civil Engineering.

She said the next step in rehabilitating the Freedom Square precinct will be to revamp Publicity House as a tourism hub and that R21 million has already been secured from the KZN Corridor fund.

Speaking on behalf of the informal traders, Mantomi Dumakude said that some of the 130 traders who will be housed in the taxi rank have been trading in the streets for almost two decades. “We have endured rains while trading in the streets, but now we will be under a shelter.

People will start to look at us as respectable business people,” said Dumakude.

Msunduzi Regional Taxi Council chairman Boy Zondi said that over 400 taxis from 14 taxi associations will be operating from the facility. He said taxi operators should keep the facility clean and refrain from washing taxis in the facility.

“ …We must maintain the facility and make sure we keep it in the same manner as it was given to us.”

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