[Debate] (Fwd) More on Warwick war
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Fri Jun 12 04:27:48 BST 2009
We appeal for legal help over mall
June 10, 2009 Edition 1
"I want world sympathy in the battle of might against right" (MK Gandhi,
April 5, 1930). This is a response to Dr Sutcliffe's presentation at
Council Chambers (to Early Morning Market (EMM) and informal traders,
SACP, Cosatu and others).
Early Morning Market traders disagrees with Dr Sutcliffe for several
The traders were presented with a fait accompli.
We were not consulted at the planning stages, but in March of this year
we were told that a decision had been taken and that we (the traders)
had to accept it. With reference to the proposed temporary relocation
site, the traders feel it is not viable because there will be fewer
passers-by and trading under a tarpaulin will cause their fresh produce
to perish quickly.
The proposed mall will result in massive job losses, not just to the 600
traders, but also to about 8 000 others, from barrow operators to the
people who supply the tables.
The proposed mall will force people to walk past the formal businesses
and away from the informal trader. This is undemocratic.
The School of Development Studies shows that every trader has between
six and 25 dependants. These traders support homes in the poorer parts
of the city, while the profits of the developers and the chain stores go
elsewhere. It should be noted that informal traders are part of a
city-wide fresh produce distribution chain that supplies poor commuters
with fairly priced produce.
Amafa (KZN heritage agency) regulations have been violated; their
communications indicate that fresh produce has been sold here since 1880.
There are third- and fourth-generation traders operating in the area.
The current market is a listed building and will celebrate its centenary
Environmental Impact Assessment legislation has not been followed.
The procedural flaw in the set-up is that before a city can release
public land to a private entrepreneur, the city has a duty to call for
an "expression of interest" by all parties. There was no public tender
process. Why aren't the traders part of the BEE scheme?
The mall threatens an international best practice of street trader
management and support.
There are serious concerns about the developer's long-term legacy and
experts fear the mall and that the city will use ratepayers' money to
pick up the pieces.Many of the members, including myself, are disturbed
by Dr Sutcliffe's demeanour at meetings and more especially in the media.
He is pushing an agenda that is not accepted by the majority of the
users of Warwick.
The misuse of the race issue to divide a group of people who are living
and working in harmony does not help.
The council neglected this area and suddenly shows an interest when a
private developer with political clout appears.
Fifteen years into our hard-won democracy when most leaders are pursuing
nation building exercises, Dr Sutcliffe chooses to undo all the progress
we as a nation have made. It is both immoral and unethical to use this
Much of his argument in favour of the mall was anti-Indian. Does he
distinguish between the colours of beggars before handing alms?
"The EMM has 600 leaseholders more than 95 percent of whom were formerly
classified as Indian," he said.
This is an incorrect and outdated argument because "those Indians" did
not categorise themselves. They were herded together by the colonial
masters and their assignation continued during the apartheid regime by
the people of the "white group".
My use of the colour issue is to highlight the absurdities of his logic.
At our meeting, the point was raised that many of the 675 traders, the
few thousand workers and the barrow pushers rank among the poorest of
the poor, and those slightly better off are creating much-needed
employment which remains a challenge to the country.
Why then does he continue to pursue the claim that the mall will provide
more jobs than informal trade?
The commuter shelter on Brook Street was built thanks to the generosity
and good will of the members of the Badsha Peer Organisation and family.
This shows the council's neglect in the area.
Their arrogance is further compounded by refusing to accept the views of
40 highly qualified South African academics specialising in urban
studies. This must be a new record for South Africa.
The market is the heart and soul of Durban, its loss will mean the end
of a legacy for the city and its people.
An appeal is now being made to the legal fraternity for help. While Dr
Sutcliffe has the municipal resources behind him, the poor traders have
to dig further into their meagre earnings and make weekly contributions
We need help now.
It is better to give a dying man water now than give him nectar later.
International support rallied for market traders
June 10, 2009 Edition 2
A call for mass action and international petition support for Early
Morning Market informal traders who face eviction to make way for a
proposed R400-million shopping mall is being made as traders fear their
concerns have fallen on deaf ears in appeals to eThekwini Municipality
management to save the historic market.
This was the outcome of a Centre for Civil Society seminar titled "The
War of Warwick Junction - A Civil Society View" at the University of
KwaZulu-Natal yesterday that drew academics, informal traders and the
community to debate the proposed 30 000 sq m mall and the future of some
8 000 traders and workers in the precinct who fear their livelihoods
will be destroyed.
About 50 academics, researchers and activists, many with ties to Durban,
have signed an open letter to the city calling for a halt to the
relocation of traders and demolition of the market.
However, city manager Mike Sutcliffe said last night that academics were
"romanticising" the market and traders themselves had complained to him
about its viability over the past five years.
International support was being rallied from informal traders including
the Self Employed Women's Association in India and a global petition was
being prepared yesterday by Canada-based Women in Informal Employment
Globalising and Organising, said academic researcher with the
University's School of Development Studies, Caroline Skinner.
Skinner said the city was "attempting to suffocate" traders during a
global recession that had resulted in thousands of retail job losses.
"KZN has been hardest hit. It will exacerbate the crisis," Skinner said.
SACP councillor Judy Mulqueeny said the development process was "flawed"
as traders had not been consulted in public participation as enshrined
in the constitution.
"The structures in place for discussion are not working. Traders'
representatives are being demonised in council documents," Mulqueeny said.
Deputy Mayor Logie Naidoo said: "The traders are being unreasonable and
are being misled.
"We would have put the mall above the train station if we had R400
million but government said there was no money available for this."
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