Makhado municipality fails to keep promise

No sign of promised markets upgrade

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Photo of market
There is no sign of promised upgrades to the traders’ market in central Makhado. Photo: Bernard Chiguvare

With just weeks to go before the end of the financial year in June, Makhado municipality in Limpopo has not kept a promise to upgrade two markets at a cost of R1.2 million.

Delivering the 2018/19 state of the municipality speech, then mayor Shonisani Sinyosi promised to upgrade the Shoprite Market in Makhado centre and the Dzanani Traders’ Market in Njelele, 30 km away. The upgrade was promised during the financial year, which ends at the end of June.

But traders say nothing has been done at either market.

Sinyosi was later removed as mayor by Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha.

About 50 hawkers trade at the Shoprite Market, sharing one tap and two toilets. They each pay R240 a year to rent a stall. But the women’s toilet is broken and women have to use the men’s toilet. When GroundUp visited the market, the tap was not working.

The wooden stalls are broken and dilapidated and the grass in a part of the market is not cut.

The hawkers say passers-by urinate near the toilets and it is smelly.

The Makhado hawkers’ association has now vowed to stop paying rent for the space.

Association chairperson Michael Bhathela says the municipality has promised an upgrade for years. “We understand the municipality allocated money for upgrading but now nothing has been done, yet it’s only a month before the financial year ends. At times we visit the municipality requesting to know when the upgrade will begin, but no-one is accountable. Officials send us from one office to the other,” says Bhathela.

He says there has been no response to a letter sent to the municipality in February.

Louis Bobodi, Makhado municipal media manager, told GroundUp the municipality had appointed a design consultant for the project. This would help the municipality estimate costs, he said.

Flora Maphera, who has been trading at the market since the 1990s, says at that time the municipality kept the place clean. “As from the year 2000, we noted standards going down and business was also going down.”

Maphera sells pap, cooked vegetables and meat.

She commutes everyday from Njelele village.

“My husband died years back and I am taking care of five children. Three of the children are school age and the other two are not working.

“Now that business is going down it becomes very difficulty for me to look after after this family. Before 2000 on a good day I used to take home R500 but now a good day is R300,” says Maphera.

Her stall is next to a dump and the municipality does not collect the rubbish regularly.

Groundup visited the market on a rainy day (Wednesday 10 April) and spoke to Josephine Mkwavo, one of the vendors who sells vegetables

“It is raining today and most people cannot come to buy here. The surroundings are dirty and muddy. I will not make any sales,” she said. “The tomatoes will go bad and I will throw them away.”

She has been trading at the market for four years.

Godfrey Ramatsitsi, who sells pap at Dzanani market, says the same conditions prevail there. “There is no order. Hawkers clean the area themselves.”

“If the municipality upgrades the market, maybe we are going to have order and business may flourish again,” says Ramatsitsi.

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