Traders on the Grand Parade in Cape Town are up in arms. They have been squeezed behind a fence erected in preparation for the Cape Town Cycle Tour from 8 to 11 March. Since last week traders could not get to their usual stands; some could not secure any place in the cramped area.
"This is upsetting, really, because we pay for the stands even when we are not at our usual places. Our customers struggle locating us. In the end they leave and we lose money," said a woman who together with her husband has been trading on the Grand Parade for 13 years. She sells school bags, suitcases and travelling bags.
"When I am not at my usual place I do not make any meaningful sales. On a good day, I make up to R2,000 a day ... Now ... I do not make any sales. How does the City expect us to put food on the table?" she asked.
Natasha Naickel, who is 71 and says she has spent 40 years selling fruits and underwear, said, "We have complained to the City several times to no avail. The City should find alternative places for such events. Why don't they go to Green Point Stadium? Grand Parade is mostly for the marginalised people."
"The City informed me that they will barricade the area from 8 to 11 March for the cycling tour, but now since last week informal traders have not been at their usual places ... The City has not put in any meaningful plans to accommodate all traders. How can they try and push us to do our trading in Plein Street yet they have not organised the area for us?" she asked.
Nozuko Ben from Khayelitsha, 29, who studied Project Management at college and now sells beads, said, "The City should in a way try to compensate us for the days lost."
Councillor Stuart Diamond, Mayoral Committee Member for Assets and Facilities Management, said, "We are working with the traders to see how best they can be accommodated."
"The Grand Parade has not been barricaded. The area has been fenced-off to allow for event set-up to take place. As with any large event, set-up is done about a week or more in advance due to the logistics."