A new market in Masiphumelele will put the township on the map as a tourist destination, says the Siyakha Business Trust, which oversees the needs of traders.
Traders and residents met at the Masiphumelele Community Hall last Thursday for an open day where they could see the proposed plans for the market, meet the project team and comment.
The informal trading plan was approved by the council in July last year, and the market will be sited at the current informal trading spot next to the taxi rank bounded by Pokela, Tambo and Kommetjie Roads.
There will be 66 trading bays with kiosks, toilets, an office, a meeting room, a refuse area, fire-safety equipment, a food-preparation area with grease traps and a parking lot.
The area around the market will be landscaped, and there will be pedestrian entrances on Kommetjie Road and Pokela Road with a courtyard for events or community meetings.
The 3m x 3m trading bays will be open seven days a week.
The City submitted a land-use application earlier this month, but the date for construction has yet to be confirmed.
Siyakha Business Trust secretary Amanda Klaasen said: “This is what we have been waiting for for so long.”
“It is a well-thought-out plan and will create a nice image of the community for tourists. The traders are happy, and we cannot wait for it to be completed,” she said.
Trader Ndileka Ngcuka runs her clothing business, Lakoa Clothing, from a stall at the back of the current trading area. She specialises in children’s clothing but sells men’s and women’s clothing too. She has a diploma in fashion design and makes all the clothes herself.
She said the new market would create a lot of opportunities for Masiphumelele.
“We get a lot of tourists visiting and they need to eat. If we have everything in one place, we can accommodate them.”
She said her business was well supported by locals and tourists, but in her current position, she could not trade if it rained. While her stall is undercover, it is at the back of the trading area and she has to display her merchandise outside to be visible. She said she could not go to other markets as she had no transport.
Another trader, Fred Tuwaga, who owns Freedom Auto Spare Parts and trades from a blue shipping container at the entrance to Masiphumelele, said everyone would benefit from the new market.
He has been operating for seven years and said it was difficult to do business in bad weather.
“The new area will benefit everyone in Masiphumelele especially if it’s raining. This will bring more money into Masiphumelele.”
During the public participation process in 2021, the Sunnydale Ratepayers’ Association gave the plan a thumbs up.
At the time, the chairman of the association, Chris Dooner, said they welcomed the market because they had been pushing for something like it for several years (“City proposes new informal trading site for Masi,” Echo, November 18, 2021).