User ownership, better partnerships between officials and communication are part of the greater solution to see a long-lived holistic improvement in the Town Centre.
Ward 79 councillor, Solomon Philander hosted a straight talk meeting at his Town Centre offices to address concerns and issues at the shopping hub.
The meeting attended by invested stall holders, ward committee members, ratepayers’ association members, taxi and hawkers’ associations, business owners, safety volunteers and department heads was aimed at providing answers to burning questions and reporting back on progress or lack thereof within the Town Centre.
“We have to look at the condition of the Town Centre and how we can improve the conditions of the Town Centre,” says Philander.
He added that the onus was on everyone to see an improvement in the shopping hub.
“It is not only the informal traders using Town Centre. We estimate there are 70 000 people using Town Centre every day, using taxis, busses and trains going to and from work. This is besides people going to the hospital and other parts of the area. There are many more feet unaccounted for. This is the biggest shopping centre in Mitchell’s Plain,” he says.
He urged residents to report problems with blocked drains and dumping to the responsible departments and officials.
“Please do not take photos of the problems and post them on social media without telling us where the problem is,” he says.
Kulsum Baker, chairperson of the Town Centre Traders Association, raised concerns about the state of maintenance and lack of contracts for various sections of the Town Centre, including the Public Transport interchange (PTI).
Daily cleaning, refuse removal and jetting of blocked drains are some of the measures already in place at the hub, but with the ending of a contract to see the PTI cleaned and maintained, the other services have become strained, Philander explains.
“Solid waste officials are supposed to be on site between 08:00 and 18:00 and are meant to clean a specific area everyday but challenges exist.”
These challenges include threats, robberies, long waiting periods, vandalism and disregard for public spaces with constant littering and irresponsible disposal of waste and food scraps from both traders and commuters.