Informal traders wary of Strand Pavilion upgrade

| Bernard Chiguvare
Waquil Samuels, Benvon Jaggers and Anwar Samuels - traders at the Strand Pavilion beach. Photo by Bernard Chiguvare.

Informal traders who eke out a living at Strand Pavilion allege that the City will marginalise them as the facility is upgraded. The City says there will be space for the traders, though slightly reduced. The upgrade has been in the pipeline since 2013.

In an email response, the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development, councillor Garreth Bloor, stated that the upgrades to the pavilion are to make provision for more pedestrian space, centralised trader opportunities, and ease the flow of traffic and parking on the precinct. The aim is to make the place more accessible to pedestrians and increase tourism.

The City says informal traders were informed of the development on 19 March 2015 when they were invited to attend an open day at Strand Town Hall. The City says most of the traders did not attend the open day event.

GroundUp found traders sceptical and mistrustful of the plans. A 37-year old man from Cameroon who has been trading at the pavilion for two years said, “We are not going to get the same space as we currently are using. Our clients, who are mostly tourists, are attracted by the beach. As they make their way to and from the beach they take a look and buy some of our stuff … Unless the City does a lot of publicity for our new location we are likely to lose our customers once we move.”

Anwar Samuels, Waguil Samuels and Waquil Jaggers, all South Africans, also complained.

Samuels has been selling his fish on the beach for almost seven years. He says, “If they are going to upgrade and move us from this place we are going to find it hard to earn a living. Everyday we come here just checking for something to make a living. This is our bread and butter … There is no work outside. We are trying to make a living here.”

“There is no problem if they move us some few metres away from the place. People from different places know they get fresh fish from us at this place,” said Samuels.

The Strand Pavilion wall and gate. Photo by Bernard Chiguvare.

Nicky Grobler, manager of a Steers restaurant close to the area to be upgraded, felt the City was doing a good thing for the community. “I think the City should go ahead with its plans, upgrading the pavilion … The place looks bad as it is,” he said.

As you approach the pavilion you walk into loose tar and a broken wall with a makeshift gate to the beach.

The City confirmed that the space the traders will get will be smaller than at present. The City says compromises need to be made in order to make the precinct work optimally for all stakeholders.

TOPICS:  Economy

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