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Cape Town – Informal traders in Khayelitsha are at loggerheads with ward councillor Thando Mpengezi because they have not been consulted on the refurbishment of informal trader stalls. The scheme, which is in progress, will see the 28 stalls obtain a fresh paint coat and repairs made to roller doors, but with no roof or paving, leaving the center still dilapidated. The chairman of the Nonkqubela Informal Traders association, Vusumzi Skeyi, said the project was not presented by the ward councilor and the city to stakeholders. 

We were surprised by the notification by telephone that the contractor would be on site the next day. About how and what will be done and who will look after the project and the time frames, there was no clarification and description. “This increased fears of acts of wrongdoing. The ward councilor interrupted correspondence and previous engagements with the City of Cape Town regarding the construction of the center, Skeyi said.

As a result of the renovations, Skeyi said that multiple traders had lost revenue, while some were working while renovations were going on. As early as 2014, the stalls were vandalised and there has been no maintenance ever since. All these years, they have stood there like white elephants. Vandalism happened when there was a security company there, and during the land invasions nearby, roofing and paving were robbed. When they have no electricity, roofing or paving, they paint the stalls and bypass us,” he said, 

ANC Economic Opportunity Spokesperson Nomi Nkondlo, who joined the traders on Monday, said the lack of contact between government agencies and poor communities remained a problem. Small businesses in traditionally underprivileged areas continue to complain that they are not adequately serviced. The president and the premier continue to talk about infrastructure-led development as the backdrop to the recovery of the economy while seeking to resuscitate our economy.

 

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If you want people to reboot the economy, which is small businesses at the center, you should have a conductive and activated environment where they can work,” Nkondlo said.” The claims were rejected by Mpengezi as misleading. He said the budget allocated by the City was for the painting and roller doors for working shops.

The service provider explained that painting and the roller doors needed to begin because the budget was adequate for that. “We know that there is no electricity and roofs in the stalls, but more developments will take place,” he said. Mpengezi could not say how much budget was allocated to the project, saying that a service provider that had already been appointed was sent by the city.

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