By Anees Teladia
Local city traders on the Grand Parade in Cape Town have expressed their dismay at being banned from trading in the area, ahead of the Cape Argus Cycle Tour. Rashieda Muller, chairperson of the Grand Parade United Traders, says they received an email from the City of Cape Town last week that the organisers will hire the entire Grand Parade for the weekend and traders must be removed.
“We understand that the event is very important for the city, but what about the work of the informal economy?” said Muller.
“Why are we as hundreds of small informal traders not benefitting from what the city is hosting? We understand it is an international event, but should we not also be the beneficiaries of this event?”
Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Management of the City of Cape Town, Alderman Grant Twigg, engaged Muller on the concerns.
“Certain safety measures are required, so the whole area is not allowing trade,” stated Twigg.
“We need to look at how we can do things better, but for this particular event we are not able to do so due in the short time-span.”
However, Muller was not satisfied with the lack of consultation nor with the procedures followed, which would directly impact the traders who have “for decades” been trading on the Parade.
Muller added that in the past, there would be consultation and negotiation in a fair and equal manner where issues like these were concerned. Yet in this case, they were simply “informed”.
“Last week we received an email to stipulate: no trade Thursday, Friday and Saturday…but formal business is continuing in and around the area,” said Muller, illustrating what she believes to be unfair treatment.
Muller then further expressed her concern at the apparent disregard the city had toward their plight.
“Late yesterday about 50 traders marched over, to request to meet with him and he refused to meet us.”
“These are vulnerable workers. They have nothing else.”
“They cannot find jobs in the formal business sector and create their own job opportunities.”
Despite this, however, the City has no alternatives for these traders, nor do they intend on providing any means of compensation for revenue lost.
Alderman Twigg admitted that the City needs to do things “better” and that their preparation ahead of the event was “insufficient”.
“It is a sad day for the traders…It is very disappointing,” said Muller. VOC