Pilgrim’s Rest: Huge tender suspicion

2012-07-27 14:13

Pilgrims Rest judgment

2012-07-27 08:22

The High Court in Pretoria on Thursday issued an order restraining the Mpumalanga provincial government from evicting occupants of Pilgrims Rest business premises.WATCH

Pretoria – The Mpumalanga department of public works has until 20 August to submit the Pilgrim’s Rest tender documents for review, says Pieter Steenkamp, legal representative for the Businesses of Pilgrim’s Rest.  

This follows the North Gauteng High Court’s restraining order against the provincial department from evicting the occupants of Pilgrim's Rest business. Judge Stanley Makgoba said the tender process to obtain new tenants had not been transparent and inclusive, with documents submitted to the courts accusing the state of claiming the historical mining town has "too many white faces".

According to the reports, Head of the Pilgrim's Rest Business Forum Marius Brummer, and owner of the Highwaymans Garage, claimed a Mpumalanga department official said this in a 2008 meeting with the town's people and that the heritage of Pilgrim’s Rest needs to benefit "PDI's" (previously disadvantaged individuals).

When asked about the ruling Brummer said, “The community is positive about the outcome as are the businesses and our workers who will not lose their jobs. The businesses will be meeting in the beginning of August to discuss the way forward and put together a marketing strategy for Pilgrim’s Rest.

According to Steenkamp, no official appeal process had been lodged and the status quo remains. The state now needs to respond to an email sent on 20 July by the businesses of Pilgrim’s Rest requesting the tender documents in order for the application for review to be submitted.

"There are huge suspicions that the process wasn’t transparent and was not in the interest of justice. You have to question why a business that has been operating for 40 years and has the necessary criteria in terms of the act such as a petroleum license to operate a garage or the required liquor licenses and necessary catering experience to render a particular service would not be allowed to continue operating,” he said.

The provincial authorities were interdicted from awarding any tenders for new occupants to use the buildings and once the documents relating to the contentious tenders process had been received the matter would resume.  

Here's what some readers had to say about it...

Jacui Maragelis: I have just returned from the area and we popped in to visit Pilgrims Rest.  Although there were a lot of tourists visiting the area, the area is full of hawkers and car guards who hassle you.  The area that the hawkers trade at is unkept and messy and it’s the same curios across all the stores.  The building that burnt down is a mess and no effort has been made to restore it.  The trading hours are also “government” hours.  The Government needs to put more effort in getting Pilgrims to what it used to be like.  It was a very different experience to when I last visited there. Very sad to see historical places deteriorating.

Charlie Mingus: I am a tour guide and went to Pilgrim's Rest in 1996 with some guests. We all enjoyed the uniqueness,history and quaintness of it all. I went back there 2 years ago and the difference was stark. First thing to happen was that I was approached by an illegal "car guard" and told to move my car. Then about 3 hawkers swarmed around, wanting to clean my car and sell my nuts, avocados and who-knows-what. This before I even got out of my car! When I turned them down they became surly and tried to block my route to the town. I then noticed that despite the attempts by the shop-owners to maintain their shops and the town, the proliferation of stalls selling the ubiquitous trinkets was in stark contrast to the character of the rest of the village, a so-called national monument. And, as someone has mentioned, not only are the trinkets available at every tourist spot you go to, they are not even made here! There was an air of hopelessness among the shopowners and the town was dirty and crowded with people who didn't seem to be visitors or doing anything. The final straw was to see the theft of the metal inlays in the headstones and of the fences surrounding the graves in the cemetery. While it is sad to see, the sense of decay is palpable and I, for one, would never go back.

Mickey.summer.54: As much as I hate to cry racism every time there is an issue like so many people do, in this instance we can guarantee if these businesses were all black owned and run, there is no way anyone would ever consider shutting them down. This government if ours is as racist as the apartheid government ever was no matter how much they try to deny it. We all belong here we were born in Africa - it doesnt matter what colour our skin, nobody has the right to try to chase anyone away.

siphorb: It is dangerous to label anything as too black or too white because, firstly, there is no clear police that defines what is black and what is white. The act that stated this was abolished by the De Klerk government in about 1989, that cleared the way for the new South Africa. The government must start learning that all South Africans are South Africans, without forgetting that previous laws caused problems for the indigenous people of South Africa. Solutions to percieved proplems/problems are found easily if the affected people are consulted and made part of the solution, so that you solve problems and not perceptions. A smart move will be for the government of Mpumalanga to deal with any action that stop 'blacks' from owning businesses in Pilgrims Rest, if there are such movements, because it will be foolish for any person to block another from being part of business in PR. Let us move away from preserving things for one colour of people, or destroying good things, just because one colour of people is benefiting.

prieurp34: Its a sad day for South Africans, the historical herritage that  we have kept in tact for future generations to enjoy and learn from will now soon be a thing of the past, all tourists income will be lost, thus a major loss


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