Grand Parade plan under way

An artists impression of the proposed stall layout for the informal traders on the Grand Parade.

Public participation for the Grand Parade plan will commence in due course, said the City of Cape Town, which plans to take over management of the market, and move the application system online.

The City said during last year and this year, they held various engagements with traders and traders’ associations to discuss the layout for upgraded trading spaces and other issues.

The kiosks at the Grand Parade had recently undergone a revamp, which mayoral committee member for assets and facilities management, James Vos said was part of a bigger plan for the City Hall Precinct.

As part of the upgrade, the row of small kiosks facing the parade was demolished and those closest to Plein Street, refurbished.

The space behind the existing kiosks was converted to accommodate the traders. Above the kiosks, a dedicated law enforcement events and venue operations centre was built, where about 40 law enforcement officers will be based.

The original Grand Parade sign was also moved to the front of the kiosks.

Now, the informal trading space will also receive a system upgrade, and the provision of uniform structures and storage nearby is being investigated.

The mayoral committee member for urban management, Grant Twigg, said the proposed layout after upgrades would allow more trading opportunities and easy access for safety and emergency response vehicles and personnel.

He said the City would manage the precinct and traders for the next 12 to 18 months and reassess management and funding based on the approved Markets Management Framework.

The framework will provide guidance on how the City should develop new markets, and support and grow existing markets. It will deal with management, governance and funding arrangements for markets.

It will also provide guidance, leading to classification of markets as either independently, jointly or City-managed. During this period the Grand Parade Market will have a single governance structure consisting of traders/ stakeholders and City officials, he said.

“The tourist location of the Grand Parade market and the history of informal traders in the area creates a prime opportunity to transform the newly upgraded market into a modern, vibrant, commercially sustainable environment.

“The Grand Parade market has been in existence for a number of years. The Wednesday and Saturday markets have become an institution and, over time, has been complemented by daily trading on the edge of the square.”

Currently, the City has month-to-month lease agreements with the traders’ associations, who in turn lease out the trading bays to each informal trader operating in that precinct.

The intention is to implement an e-permit system that will allow each individual trader to apply for a permit, until such time that the Markets Management Framework is adopted by the City later during this financial year.

The move to e-permits is supported by the fact that many leases with trader associations are expired and existing month-to-month leases are not aligned with current financial regulations that require the City to undertake stringent and transparent processes when transferring ownership of property or providing management by external bodies.

The system is already in place in various departments in the City. The traders expressed concern over the City’s plans, with some
of them saying that they have been let down too many times, and are worried that their needs won’t be met.

Natasha Naicker, a trader and site manager at the parade, said she did not have a problem with the City’s plan to move the traders, as long as they remained near the public thoroughfare and the transport hub.

However, she said, it would be unfair to traders who have been
on the parade for decades if new traders’ applications were given preference. “People who came to trade last year get the same privilege as us who have been here for years. We are also unsure because we don’t know what the set-up will be.”

She also expressed concern that they were not allowed to trade when events take place on the parade.

Ziyanda Frans, who has been trading on the parade for four years, said she was in limbo.

“We are happy with the way it is now, because as they say, rather the devil you know. We don’t know what the City will do.”

Millicent Siqangwe said she had no problem with the plans, however, she lost money when there were events on the parade. “Right now, we are trading, but it doesn’t look like a market, but when there are events, we lose our bread and butter.”

Shenaaz Samuels said the market at the Grand Parade had always been for the locals, however, the City is preparing it as a tourist attraction. “We gave the City many ideas, but none of them materialised, so we don’t know what will happen.”

She said trading on the parade had become so dire, sometimes people didn’t make money.

“Some of us can’t even get online to apply for a permit. The market is about survival and livelihood, but we are struggling.

“The City needs to wake up and listen to us. We need covered stalls – we are unable to work in difficult weather, or when there are events which we can benefit from. And we need to be here for our locals.

“We are part of the upgrade process — why not do something for us?”

Mr Twigg said all current traders, as submitted by the trader associations and verified by the City, would be accommodated to trade. The remaining bays will be advertised and interested traders must apply online to the City and provide the required information as per the questionnaire. There are currently 36 traders who are there daily, and 75 traders are present on Wednesdays and Saturdays, according to the City database.

Trading will take place six days a week, from Monday to Saturday, subject to events being held on the Grand Parade. The existing Wednesday and Saturday traders will be allowed to trade under the conditions of a permit with dedicated bay sizes.

These bay sizes will range in size from 3×3 to a maximum of 6×6, based on the specified criteria. “We remain positive that should all go according to plan, this proposal will become a reality by 2020.

The City recognises the significance of informal traders and their contribution to the local economy,” said Mr Twigg.