Bhisho more like a vil­lage than a town

Shops have gone, and so has the work

Daily Dispatch - - News - By ZOLILE MENZELWA

ARMED only with a Grade 2 ed­u­ca­tion, it used to be eas­ier for Mzikayise Daniso of Tyu­tyu in Bhisho to find jobs in the cap­i­tal “town­ship” of the Eastern Cape when there were re­tail stores in the CBD.

Now, it is marked with lit­ter and graz­ing live­stock – even in front of the build­ing that houses pre­mier Phu­mulo Ma­su­alle’s of­fice in the CBD and in front of the high court. The Satur­day Dis­patch took a tour yes­ter­day of the town that was once boom­ing with busi­ness.

Re­tail stores such as Pick n Pay, OK and Weirs Cash and Carry and fur­ni­ture shops of­fered re­lief to peo­ple such as Daniso who had fam­i­lies to sup­port but no for­mal ed­u­ca­tion.

Daniso now sur­vives wash­ing the cars of civil ser­vants who work in Bhisho.

“Life was eas­ier back then. One could do at least two jobs a day from dif­fer­ent shops. Now we live in hard times, my brother,” he said.

“We wash cars for a liv­ing and some­times own­ers just get into their cars and drive off with­out pay­ing us.”

Liziwe Ndubela, who has lived in Bhisho Gar­dens for the past 25 years, said it was a painful ex­pe­ri­ence to be a home owner in Bhisho.

“We have to go to King Wil­liam’s Town for ev­ery­thing we need.

“We buy stale food from the spaza shop at the mall or pay R20 to go to [KWT] and back,” she said.

Noku­zola Nolonyana said Bhisho was just a town in name but with all the mark­ings of a vil­lage.

“We only have a su­per­mar­ket here and we can’t do our gro­ceries there be­cause it is ex­pen­sive. It is even more dif­fi­cult for peo­ple who do not have cars who must do their gro­ceries us­ing taxis.”

Mbuyiseli Don­dashe, from Esikobeni vil­lage just out­side Bhisho, said be­sides jobs at the shops and of- fload­ing de­liv­ery trucks, they used to get money push­ing trol­leys for shop­pers.

“We are hard labour peo­ple and the shops used to give us jobs. We live a re­ally hard life now,” said Don­dashe, who only went to school as far as Grade 1.

Lin­dela Mat­soko, 57, the fur­ni­ture shops banks had gone, with one bank re­main­ing.

Pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment spokesman Son­wabo Mbananga said a Bhisho Re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion Plan was ap­proved by the de­part­ment of roads and pub­lic works in 2009 to “de­velop Bhisho into a vi­brant ad­min­is­tra­tive and po­lit­i­cal cap­i­tal of the prov­ince”.

He said the mas­ter­plan iden­ti­fied a num­ber of an­chor projects, in­clud­ing a hous­ing es­tate and of­fice and en­ter­tain­ment precincts.

“No­tice of va­cat­ing the var­i­ous premises has been is­sued for var­i­ous fa­cil­i­ties in cen­tral Bhisho,” he said.

“The im­ple­men­ta­tion of the com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion plan will com­mence soon with an ad­vert be­ing placed for cer­tain cat­e­gories of ser­vice providers that would en­hance and strengthen the broader goals of the re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion plan.”

Mbananga said the space pre­vi­ously oc­cu­pied by Pick n Pay would be va­cated when the DRPW roads unit was re­lo­cated to the KWT of­fices. — zo­lilem@dis­patch.co.za said and only

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