Plan for Parow Arcade

TASNEEM HASSAN

Informal traders in Parow have voiced support for the City’s informal trading plans for the Parow Arcade, and are hopeful they will get container structures to trade from.

Council approved an informal trading plan for Parow Arcade on January 28.

In June last year, Sub-council 4 recommended the City adopt an Informal Trading Plan for Parow Arcade.

It recommended then that no street vending, peddling or hawking be allowed in the informal trading bays by people who don’t have valid permits.

Northern News spoke to traders at the arcade who are excited about the plan and also hope it will rid the area of crime that keeps customers away.

Papa Chris, who has been trading in the arcade for more than 10 years, said he is one hundred percent behind the plan.

He said about three years ago they were given letters about the City’s plans, but heard nothing thereafter.

“This is good news. I will be very happy if they implement this plan,” said Mr Chris.

Mr Chris is a father of three, and trading is his only form of income.

He hopes the plan will regulate what items are sold in the space.

“If you walk up this lane, there are so many stalls who all sell the same stuff, which makes it so difficult for us to make money,” said Mr Chris who sells clothing.

He feels the plan will bring a new feel to Parow Arcade and a better experience for shoppers.

“The walkways will be better with more space, and hopefully more clean,” he said.

Mr Chris said security has always been a concern.

“Sometimes we lose customers because of the criminal elements that hang around here and rob people. That takes money away from us, food off our tables,” said Mr Chris.

He is hopeful that he will see more police visibility.

Another vendor, Ngesikazi Nongomaza, 41, said she is happy with the City’s plan to regulate trading in the arcade, but is also concerned about crime.

She has been trading there since 1999, and said crime is high.

“Hopefully, the City will have more security and police visibility around here when they implement the new plans,” said Ms Nongomaza.

She said that on many occasions she has been robbed of her stock. Ms Nongomaza sells pantihose and tights.

“When I am serving customers there will be one opportunistic thief that will come and take my stuff and run off. It is not a nice feeling, as we work hard for our money,” she said.

She hopes with the new plan, they will get containers to work from, so they don’t have to pack up their goods every day.

Michael Michaels, who sells fruit in the arcade, said plans for the area are great but he too is frustrated by crime.

“We have so little business because people are too scared to come and buy here because of the crime. People prefer to go to the malls, where it is safer,” said Mr Michaels.

He said it’s tough for fruit sellers, as their salaries depend on the sales they make make each day.

He hopes for increased police visibility.

“The police just drive past, or you simply just don’t see them at all.

“This place is unsafe and unhygienic,” said Mr Michaels.

Mr Michaels too hopes the City will give traders containers, so that they can trade through winter and summer.

Fatima Abrahams, who lives in Parow, said she often goes to the arcade to get fresh fruit and vegetables.

But sometimes she is too scared to walk alone in the area and does not carry a handbag as she is scared of criminals.

“I hope the plan will breathe new life into the arcade, and remove all the bad elements. These people work hard for their money and it’s not fair that we get robbed of what we work for,” said Ms Abrahams.

JP Smith, the acting Mayco member for tourism, events and economic development, said the City’s emergency services department has raised safety concerns with the existing layout of the informal trading bays, which sparked the City to implement the plan.

He said it was recommended that the trading plan be revised to mitigate future safety risks. Access for emergency vehicles will be restricted in the current layout in the event of a fire.

He said the recommendation is that the trading area be converted from a double lane to a single lane.

“As a result, some of the traders will have to be relocated to an alternative proposed site which is in close proximity to the Parow Arcade,” said Mr Smith.

When asked if the City has found any unlicensed traders, Mr Smith said it varies daily, depending on the level of pedestrian activity and weather.

Mr Smith said the City adopted an Informal Trading Policy in September 2013, which sets out the strategic objectives for development of the informal trade sector, planning and management guidelines for informal trade in the city and the stakeholder roles regarding the informal trade sector.

“The vision for informal trade in the City of Cape Town is a thriving informal trading sector that is valued and integrated into the economic life, urban landscape and social activities within the City of Cape Town,” said Mr Smith.

He said through a developmental approach, the City seeks to facilitate the access to job and entrepreneurial opportunities within the informal trading sector.

Lieutenant Kevin Williams, the communications officer at Parow police station, said the station area close to the Parow Arcade has experienced common robberies of cellphones and jewellery in recent months.

He said that the City’s changes to regulate the informal trading will help in preventing the above- mentioned crime.

“The community is urged not to use their phones while walking in the arcade, and not show any valuable items,” he said.

Lieutenant Williams said residents should not wander in the arcade on their own, but rather walk in groups.

* The public or interested parties can see the plan at www.capetown.gov.za/haveyoursay and submit objections between Monday February 29 and Tuesday March 29.

Objections can be emailed to LieslAnn.Kenny@capetown.gov.za or faxed to 086 576 0522 or hand- delivered to 7 Suker Street, off Kasselsvlei Road, Bellville South.