2010-03-02 06:01:32 – Voice of the Cape
The march by the Concerned Hawkers and Traders Association (CHATA) and the Cape Town Station traders, which was due to take place on Tuesday morning to Parliament, has been postponed. According to the spokeswoman for CHATA, Mischka Cassiem, the Cape Town Station traders were waiting on a meeting to take place between Cosatu and the City of Cape Town, before any further action is taken.
Cassiem reported that on Friday, a police officer went around handing out a notice to all informal traders in the Mitchells Plain Town Centre warning them their actions might result in eventual eviction and loss of space to trade for about 500 CHATA members. “We have been receiving notices from law enforcement officials and SAPS officials with regards to the permits. Trading will not be permitted by March 8, if you do not have a permit, you will not be permitted to traide. This has sparked an issue amongst the traders. A few of the traders who are not affiliated with CHATA have collected their permits and they are not happy with the conditions,” Cassiem said.
She said if the so-called “trading plan” is followed through, 500 people will have had their main source of income destroyed. This, she said, will have an additional negative impact on about 3,000 family members of the traders who rely on that income. At the same time, it will also result in job losses for countless other informal workers such as porters, night-time security guards and drivers. The total economic impact of this “draconian restructuring of the Town Centre on poor residents of Mitchells Plain is enormous.”
Last week CHATA protested against the City’s treatment of traders throughout the Metropole. A memorandum was handed over to Paul Williamson from the City of Cape Town, but to date CHATA has still not received a response from the City regarding the list of demands outlined in their memorandum.
“He has not responded to the memorandum, he has not responded to any of the issues. We have received no notice from the City to call CHATA into a meeting. In the memorandum we have requested a meeting with Sub-Council 12 and the executive members of CHATA,” she stated.
According to Cassiem, a lot of the issues raised in the memorandum have as yet not being addressed by the authorities. “A lot of the issues were raised in the memorandum. They did not get back to us, instead they are going ahead with the planned eviction of the traders from the Mitchells Plain Town Centre,” she said.
CHATA has also accused councillor Natalie Bent, of being anti poor and said that her position is an outright threat to informal traders. “She wants to undermine our businesses so that we are forced to become exploited workers at Shoprite. CHATA believes it is the City’s responsibility to see to it that each and every trader is being supported and catered for in a fair and just manner,” Cassiem stressed.
She alleged that Bent wants CHATA members to apply for a new permit every month, but without explaining the unfair conditions and restrictions associated with signing the permit. According to Cassiem, the engagement by the city on the proposed permit system was not meaningful.
CHATA and the Cape Town Station Traders has decided to now take their plight to national government as they are of the opinion that their grievances has fallen on deaf ears, when raised with local and provincial government. “We have had a meeting with Premier Helen Zille. At the time, we spoke to her with regards to the unfairness and the way the process has unfolded. She immediately sent an e-mail to the officials of the City of Cape Town and she promised that she would respond to us via e-mail. We have given her our e-mail address. She has not informed us about the progress made,” Cassiem said.
Chata has also accused the Mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato, of making false promises. “We have been promised that the City would attempt to find an amicable solution to the problem without the threat of evictions. We are disappointed with the lies of the City. You also requested names and information from us regarding our allegations of corruption during the upgrading process. We gave you the relevant names and information. You promised to address this issue and stamp out corruption. You have not bothered to fulfill this promise either,” said Cassiem.
CHATA was due to meet with ANC MP, Marius Fransman on Monday at the Parliamentary Constituency office in Mitchells Plain. “We are hoping to meet with Marius Fransman today at the Parliamentary Constituency office in Mitchells Plain. We are also hoping the Minister Ebrahim Patel would address our issue,” Cassiem related. VOC (Dorianne Arendse)