Solly seeks to set­tle trader row

‘Nor­mal­ity will re­turn once Mamelodi Re­gional Mall is done’

Pretoria News - - NEWS - RAPULA MOATSHE rapula.moatshe@inl.co.za

CITY mayor Solly Msi­manga has added his voice to the on­go­ing im­passe at the new Mamelodi Re­gional Mall, say­ing there had been a de­lay due to the com­mit­ments that were made by the de­vel­oper.

Msi­manga said the in­for­mal traders were go­ing to be given con­tain­ers, but th­ese were not de­liv­ered on time and that cre­ated an un­com­fort­able sit­u­a­tion. The con­tain­ers had started ar­riv­ing, he said.

Msi­manga said the City hoped by next year cer­tain phases of the project would be com­pleted.

He said the com­ple­tion of other parts of the project would en­able the City to un­block some of the lo­cal roads. “The Wat­loo road com­ing into Mamelodi is con­gested. Ev­ery day peo­ple spend an hour or two in traf­fic just to get in or out of Mamelodi,” Msi­manga said.

He said the City had iden­ti­fied al­ter­na­tive trad­ing space for traders. “The in­for­mal traders didn’t want the spa­ces al­lo­cated to them. They are say­ing where they are there are no feet.”

He said ev­ery­thing would go back to nor­mal for traders once the construction was com­pleted. “It is not per­ma­nent and the con­trac­tor has said to them that there will be a space for them to trade once the construction is com­plete.

“With any kind of construction there will be some kind of in­con­ve­nience, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop the project. You will have to en­dure the pain and en­joy the fruits of the project there­after,” Msi­manga said.

Traders’ leader Mary Choma re­jected ac­cu­sa­tions that they had re­fused to make way for a mall construction. She said only 40 con­tain­ers were pro­vided. de­spite there be­ing more than 200 traders in Den­neboom.

Mean­while, Lawyers for Hu­man Rights vowed to take le­gal ac­tion against the City of Tsh­wane and Isi­bonelo Prop­erty Ser­vices, de­vel­op­ers of the R1.3 bil­lion mall, for fail­ure to hon­our a court or­der. The or­der stip­u­lated they must pro­vide in­for­mal traders with con­tain­ers to ply their trade.

The in­for­mal traders and de­vel­op­ers have been em­broiled in an on­go­ing fight; the de­vel­op­ers ac­cuse the traders of re­fus­ing to va­cate the land on which part of the mall must be built.

At­tor­ney Louise du Plessis said the City and de­vel­op­ers had not kept their prom­ise to pro­vide con­tain­ers to in­for­mal traders fol­low­ing a court in­ter­dict ob­tained by hu­man rights lawyers on be­half of the traders ear­lier this year.

“In terms of the court or­der, the de­vel­op­ers and the City were not al­lowed to make it dif­fi­cult for traders to trade,” Du Plessis said.

Ac­cord­ing to her, the City was also to blame for its fail­ure to al­lo­cate al­ter­na­tive trad­ing spa­ces.

Du Plessis said they had al­ready sent 200 com­pleted forms of traders to the City and told it to al­lo­cate space for traders. The City had, how­ever, not re­sponded to re­quest by lawyers, she said. “It is ex­tremely shock­ing that a big com­pany like Isi­bonelo could ig­nore the court or­der.”.

When the Pre­to­ria News vis­ited the site yes­ter­day, traders ex­pressed frus­tra­tion that they might be left out in the cold as con­trac­tors con­tin­ued to clear the site.

PIC­TURE: BON­GANI SHILUBANE/ANA

Eric Tsamba, an in­for­mal trader at Den­neboom, says he has been left with­out a space to ply his trade be­cause of the im­passe with de­vel­op­ers of the new mall.

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