Talk to us, council told

2011-03-04 00:00

THE owners of businesses in the central business district have expressed concern over what they called the Msunduzi Municipality’s lack of consultation when implementing new strategies for the city.

These concerns, raised in a meeting at Professor Nyembezi Centre yesterday, arise from the recently launched Operation Chihuahua, aimed at enforcing the city’s bylaws.

Rishi Ramharak, manager for informal economy and street trading in the municipality, convened the meeting to hear the business owners’ concerns.

They told him they are losing a lot of business because the lower part of the town has been neglected and a lot of criminal activities take place there because there is no police visibility.

A third-generation owner of S.D. Pather jewellers, Sandraseelan Pather, said: “Our business has been operating for more than 100 years in the city. We want the municipality to consult us when planning to eradicate the problem of street traders because the way they operate is bad for business.”

He said people prefer to shop where they feel safe, where there are no street traders on pavements. “We want to help the municipality, but we cannot do so when they do not share with us their vision for the future,” said Pather.

He complained that people urinate on the street near businesses, and traders’ stalls block shops’ display windows

“We have no traffic cops downtown and the [lack of] police visibility is also threatening our businesses,” said Pather.

The business owners said the municipality should identify land where its can build shelters and provide ablution facilities for street traders because they are an important component of business in the city.

“We do not want the municipality to designate pavements for [street traders] because that does not help solve the problem. We want… better working conditions for them,” said Solly Essa of Ganie Store.

Ramharak said he has noted their concerns and will have to consult with the authorities who will provide answers. “In the meantime we have divided the city into 14 blocks to make it easier for us to deal with … street traders,” he added.

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