Business deteriorates

2019-01-24 06:01
Some of the meat stalls near Nonkqubela Train Station were built by the City are closed after their owners vacated them.

Some of the meat stalls near Nonkqubela Train Station were built by the City are closed after their owners vacated them.

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Meat vendors operating at Nonkqubela Train Station, in Site B, have been forced to close down operations or seek alternative spaces as vandals continously wreak havoc, thus stunting their businesses.

Most of the vendors have been operating at the station over the years, but, conditions have deteriorated in recent years, making it almost impossible to run their businesses.

They say their stalls are being damaged, that electrical cables supplying power to their fridges have also been damaged by vandals.

Vusumzi Skeyi, chairperson of the Nonkqubela Informal Traders Association, said appeals to the City of Cape Town for help have been in vain.

This, he said, has forced most of the vendors to close down while others have relocated to other areas.

The station is a business hub to hundreds of vendors, however, the numbers have dwindled over the years. Their cries have fallen on deaf ears, he says.

“We’ve been engaging with various City officials since 2007 regarding our plight,” he said.

Skeyi said they have tried everything possible to salvage what is left of their business, but nothing seem to work.

He said this is already having a negative impact on families, as some vendors rely on their earnings to make a living and support their families.

“We started selling here since the mid 80’s, operating from where the centre (Nonkqubela Link Centre) is situated, but the City moved us in 2002 and placed us in different areas near the train station, with the promise to build us a proper market stalls,” he added.

In 2004, the City erected 29 stalls , while other meat vendors were temporarily placed at the parking lot in front of the centre.

However, the City’s mayoral committee member for urban management, Councillor Grant Twigg, said the City is in the process of developing an “informal trading master plan” for Khayelitsha.

He said the plan would outline the developmental priorities and proposed infrastructure roll out plan for the informal sector in Khayelitsha, including the areas around Nonkqubela.

“As far as Nonkqubela is concerned a number of discussions and meetings were held with the respective trader organizations operating in the area in an attempt to address their challenges, particularly those relating to safety,” he said.

“It was agreed that a trading plan for the area would be developed in order to manage informal trading in line with the Informal Trading By-law.”

But Skeyi still accused the City of trying to destroy businesses in black communities.

He complained about the developments in the Town Centre in Mitchell’s Plain, which he claimed was well developed, compared to Khayelitsha.

“It is well developed. We were the first people to trade in Khayelitsha as whole, and Town Centre just arrived now but it has everything.”

Skeyi claimed that their stalls were last fixed in 2007 and were now under the mercy of thugs.

“They have no doors and electricity. They do not paint them anymore,” he said.

Meat vendor Nomfuneko Mpuhlu, who said she started trading in the area in 2001 and had lost all her belongings when her stall was vandalised in 2008.

“The criminals took my freezer, braai stand and plates. They broke down the door and left it open,” she said.

Mpuhlu said selling meat was her only way of putting bread on the table.

Twigg stated that the market stalls at Nonkqubela are without electricity due to numerous cases of vandalism and cable theft having occurred at the facility. However, he stated that a meeting will be set up with officials shortly to discuss these challenges. He could not say when.

Skeyi said although meetings had been held, nothing had come of them.


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