Strategies planned to protect traders

Mayoral committee member for community services and health Dr Zahid Badroodien, with Ward 46 councillor, Aslam Cassim, far right, at a walkabout in the Gatesville square.

City officials are working on plans to reduce the threat of a Covid-19 outbreak among Gatesville’s informal traders, but not all the traders are happy with the proposals.

Mayoral committee member for community services and health Dr Zahid Badroodien visited the area on Saturday June 13, along with Ward 46 councillor Aslam Cassim and officials from the urban management directorate. Dr Badroodien said urgent action was needed to ease congestion among the traders. Officials, he said, were working on plans for the area that included turning it into a weekend market with bigger trading bays and removing informal traders from the front of the formal shops.

Gatesville ward councillor Aslam Cassim, said most traders only did business on weekends. Drastic measures were needed because physical distancing regulations were being ignored, he said.

“In the interim we are looking at moving them into the parking area and cornering off between Lavis and Doreen roads, but we need input from residents for this.

“It will create more space for social distancing and also reduce congestion which is the main idea. Traders have to have their Covid-19 trading permits in order to trade,” he said.

Community worker Fowzia Veerasamy said the plan was long overdue.

“The development of Gatesville needed to be done long ago, but community input must be taken into consideration. Residents want to feel proud that they were part of the upliftment of the area. They must take everyone’s view into account.

“Traders and residents have lots of questions and ideas. The area needs better security and police visibility. They need to look at tenders within the community to uplift our own people who will be passionate about uplifting their own communities and not stand by and see crime happening,” she said.

But Shahieda Sonday, who sells seafood, said traders were not happy about the idea of being moved as their customers knew exactly where to find them.

“I don’t want to be moved. The City gave us that location so why would they want to move us? I could even lose out on business if I am moved. I have already not been trading since the start of the lockdown.

“The fruit-and-veg traders cannot alone get bigger bays, then everyone must get bigger bays. It must be fair. Everyone touches fruit and veg, but food traders can’t trade, it makes no sense,” she said.

Gadija Petersen, who sells lingerie and swimwear, said no one was consulting with traders and the number of illegal traders in Gatesville was growing, which was one of the main reasons for the congestion.

“The City needs to get rid of the illegal traders then there will be more space and less congestion. We would like them to consult with us about what is going on,” she said.