Traders ’pushed’ away from customers in Grand Parade

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Cape Town – Vendors on the Grand Parade who were badly affected by the pandemic are now facing another challenge.

Traders in the Grand Parade have accused the City of Cape Town of “pushing” them back away from their customers. This follows the removal of parking bays in front of the City Hall which have been turned into pavements.

At the beginning of the month, 34 streets in the CBD, from St John’s Street all the way to Old Marine Drive, among which Darling Street is part of, will be made more pedestrian-friendly.

“Tourists walk there my friend, not close here,” said vendor David Esau, pointing the distance. “Before this pavement thing, people were walking past us at a closer range and customers buy what they easily see. At least they should allow us closer to the trees.”

Esau also said that the Grand Parade has become exclusive parking area for municipal workers.

“Customers coming to us cannot park inside here because the security does not let them in. The cars you see here are people working for the municipality. Our businesses will suffer from this.”

The security officials at the entrance confirmed that the cars parked there either belong to law enforcement officials, traders and other City staff.

Other traders declined to speak, for fear of victimisation.

City of Cape Town spokesperson, Luthando Tyhalibongo said they have been liaising with the various Grand Parade informal trading associations over the past two years in order to upgrade the area and create a more economically viable trading space, including Darling Street, which has been supported by the associations.

“The City will be meeting with the associations soon as part of our ongoing engagements. The parking is not earmarked exclusively for City officials as alleged. The area on the right side of the Parade is earmarked to be used as a tourist bus drop off-site, parking for events at City Hall, parking for the traders and events that will be occurring more frequently in this space. A small space on the Parade along Darling Street has been allocated for City staff.”

He added that the City recognises the significance of informal traders and their contribution to the economy and therefore continues to support them to help grow their businesses.

Weekend Argus