Traders have criticised the organising of this year’s Cape Town Night Market, which came to a conclusion on Tuesday evening, after the popular festive season event witnessed a dwindling of support from the public. Traders have voiced their displeasure that the market, held for the second year at the Company’s Garden in the City Centre, was shortened to just five days between the 18th and 22nd December; too short for stall owners to make any significant business.
Trading hours were initially reduced to between 12pm-8pm on weekdays and 10am-8pm over the weekend, although traders managed to secure an extension until 11pm each night.
This year’s market was hosted as a collaboration between the City of Cape Town and the Cape Town Partnership.
Senior vendor and representative of the traders, Ismail Moosa said that amongst the stall owners’ qualms was the reduction in the number of stalls that were allowed to operate, specifically within the food court.
“There were hardly any stalls in the food court. If you compare this year’s market with any other market, there were just less than 80 stalls that weren’t there. It was sad for a lot of people who made applications but were rejected,” he explained.
Only three halaal stores had been operating over the five-day event.
Moosa was also critical of the general layout and organisation of the event, lambasting the Cape Town Partnership for doing little for the traders and hosting, in his view “the worst market ever in Cape Town”. He also accused the group of making no undertaking to consult with stall vendors, many of whom are seasoned traders at the market.
“It’s people’s livelihood; they depend on this market. A lot of people, even before the dates were confirmed bought their stock and now they are sitting with stuff they don’t know what they are going to do with,” he highlighted.
Also of concern is that many holiday makers are expected to visit from up-country between Christmas and New Year’s, meaning traders will miss out on would have been an extremely fruitful period of business.
Traders are expected to sit down in the coming days and have promised to make submissions to the City of Cape Town over their concerns. VOC