The future is uncertain for traders at the Bayside Bazaar.
While ward councillor Aimee Kuhl says an increase in crime in the Fish Hoek CBD is threatening the future of the Bayside Bazaar, police say their stats do not support this notion.
The area in question is opposite the Fish Hoek train station, and has operated under licence for more than 20 years.
Ms Kuhl says it has, however, descended into a dirty and unsafe area with no toilet facilities for tenants and homeless people have taken over the area at night, sleeping rough beneath the containers.
The Bayside Bazaar has seven tenants on City books, but only three were there when the False Bay Echo visited. It generates an annual income of R37 296 a year and the seven tenants, all of whom are long-term tenants, are fully paid up.
Although the City says that there has been a long and consultative process, the tenants know nothing about the City’s plans to demolish the bazaar or what this means for their businesses thereafter.
The Echo’s questions to the City about what the future holds for the tenants, when the changes would be implemented, what would be built in its place and how the current tenants would be accommodated were not answered; even after they were sent twice, with reminders, over a period of two weeks.
Ward councillor Aimee Kuhl said: “Our informal trading department is reviewing the informal trading plan for the whole of Fish Hoek and will ensure that current traders can continue to go about their business in a safe and inclusive manner.”
The motion to demolish the kiosks was listed in the Sub-council 19 agenda, noting that the traders would be accommodated as part of the revised Informal Trading Plan.
When pressed for details of what “accommodated” means or what details of the informal trading plan were, the City provided no answer.
Ms Kuhl said the City supported micro entrepreneurs and would continue to do so, but added that the current situation around the station precinct had become untenable with regards to safety. “I am in discussions with law enforcement and the City’s drug unit to enhance enforcement in the area but sincerely hope that SAPS will fulfil their mandate in keeping law abiding citizens of Fish Hoek safe in this public space,” she said.
Ocean View pensioner Galiema Petersen has had her stall at the Bazaar since 2 000.
“We have been told nothing,” she told the Echo. “All we hear are rumours, no facts.”
What she makes as a trader is her only source of income, she added. “We can’t ask our children. In fact, sometimes we must help our children out too.”
Sylvia Havenga, from Retreat, has also been at the Bazaar since 2000. But in the past three years, she said, the area had fallen apart, and she is worried about what the proposed changes will mean for traders.
“We don’t even have toilet facilities here,”shesaid.“It’s good if they want to clean it up but if it means we are going to have to be paying so much more then I can’t afford it. Then they must rather pay me out and I will close up shop,” she said.
She pointed out damage to Ms Petersen’s container made by homeless people making fires at night.
Both women say the presence of the homeless folk – with their loaded trolleys parked in the doorway of one of the containers – make people feel threatened and deter business. And, they say, they have to wash away urine and excrement left there in the morning – all before a day’s work.
Chuks Nawmama has been a stall holder since 2004. He lives in Masiphumelele and this is his only source of income. He has been robbed twice, his container cleared of all his stock. And he has seven children to raise. “Just now I went to transfer R400 to my son. They need money, but it is difficult to make it here now under these conditions of the place being dirty and unsafe and having the homeless people living here,” he said. “We pay our lease and would just like to know what our future holds, nobody has told us anything,” he said.
Station commander Lieutenant Colonel Jackie Johnson, however, said reported crime figures do not reflect a significant increase in crime in the CBD area and there have been an increase in arrests this month.
“I would like to reassure the residents of Fish Hoek that their safety and security remain of utmost importance to us. Our members are dedicated to their calling as police officers, “ she said.