The interim chairperson of the Grand Parade Trader’s Forum has indicated that traders on the Grand Parade are not satisfied with the level of public participation allotted by the City of Cape Town to stakeholders of the marketplace insofar as the development thereof is concerned. Although traders are demanding that the process of planning be more inclusive, the City says that it has had discussions with stakeholders before.
According to the City, plans are afoot to transform the Grand Parade market into a more modern, vibrant, attractive, safe and commercially sustainable environment.
“The Grand Parade market has been in existence for a number of years. The Wednesday and Saturday markets have become an institution and, over time, has been complemented by daily trading on the edge of the square. Currently, the City has month-to-month lease agreements with the traders’ associations, who in turn lease out the trading bays to each informal trader operating in that precinct,” said Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Management at the City of Cape Town, Alderman Grant Twigg
The intention is to implement an e-permit system that will allow each individual trader to apply for a permit, until such time that the Markets Management Framework is adopted by the City later during this financial year.
He explained that the move to e-permits is supported by the fact that many leases with traders associations are expired and existing month-to-month leases are not aligned with current financial regulations “that require the City to undertake stringent and transparent processes when transferring ownership of property or providing management by external bodies”.
The e-permit system will enable affordability for individual traders with a consistent tariff applied across the City.
“We have put in place space for law enforcement, allocated space for people to sit and have something to eat and are looking at putting in Wi-Fi at the facility so that people can have access to Wi-Fi…then [we are also looking at] a space where people can take photos and make some memories of the parade itself,” Twigg said.
Addressing the concerns of traders, Twigg added that “the existing traders will be part of the process and have access to the market.”
The City is also looking at changing the way traders are regulated in the market, considering a move to having traders operational with e-permits rather than engaging in leasing agreements through different associations on a month to month basis as is currently the case.
The interim chairperson of the Grand Parade Trader’s Forum, however, is not happy with the change. He argued that wherever the City previously implemented the e-permit system, it failed. He also argued that the traders were not included in the City’s discussions on plans for the future of the market, which he finds deeply problematic.
“We have never come to a conclusion that we want to oppose [the City], all we want is consultation and to be a part of the discussion.”
The City says that it wants to make the market a “bigger space” for the traders, ensuring that over 200 traders would have the opportunity to sell their goods there. However, the interim chairperson of the Trader’s Forum seemed bewildered by the City’s mention of 200 traders. He [the interim chairperson] denied that there are only 75 traders at a time on the Grand Parade Market, as was suggested by Twigg, and said that there are up to 344 traders utilising the Grand Parade market at different points.
The proposed development by the City is expected to start early next year.