Fed up with the “empty promises” by city officials, traders in Mitchells Plain busy Town Centre will be taking to the streets of Cape Town on Tuesday. The Mitchells Plain United Hawkers Forum are embarking on a march to the offices of the City of Cape Town to hand over a memorandum to highlight their concerns around trading. Aggrieved traders have cited crime, hygiene, prostitution, gangsterism and social ills as a major challenge.
The Forum’s secretary Shireen Rowland said the situation is the Town Centre has become unbearable for traders.
“Drug peddling, sale of counterfeit items, shopper’s bags and grocery bags, cellular phone grabbing, buying in of firearms and power tools, prostitution, gangsterism, car theft, car and delivery trucks break-ins, stabbings, territorial fights and many more issues. Informal, formal and regular users of Town Centre have to deal with this daily. Homeless women, children including men are adversely exposed to many bad atrocities including being raped, killed and used to traffic drugs, prostitution and firearms,” she alleged.
Another great concern is the lack of hygiene practice especially when the world has been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The removal of waste is yet another challenge, Town Centre is found to be in a hygienically unsafe environment, no attention was given to deep sanitising due to the coronavirus pandemic. Refuse, wet and dry are still seen strewn around and not removed timeously. The lack of access to public toilets has caused that users of Town Centre often are met with fowl reeks of defecation and urine,” she stressed.
Roland said that the condition in the Town Centre was not always the way it is now, but when the City of Cape Town stopped supplying the area with law enforcement, things spiralled out of control.
“As traders who actively pay for the permits, we are very sad about the conditions in the Town Centre. Town Centre is overcrowded in terms of traders and we the legal traders are the ones suffering, “she added.
Roland said that she hopes that the march will highlight the rights of traders.
“We are marching today for the dignity of traders to be restored. It is our right to have safe and clean conditions and for the City to monitor the area to ensure that crime doesn’t spiral out of control. We want the Town Centre to be restored in order for services like MyCiti Buses and other transport services to start operating efficiently in the area.”
Traders are expected to gather at Keizergraght at 11am and march to Hertzog Boulevard where a memorandum will be handed to officials of the City of Cape Town,