By Masilo Malakwane
QWAQWA – Informal traders of Setsing Shopping Centre fear that their relocation from this busy complex would affect the livelihood of their business since they don’t know where to go.
The dispute between the two parties hawkers and Setsing plaza authority was highlighted during the meeting with the Centre Manager of the plaza on Thursday, 11 March 2021.
The Chairperson of the Hawkers Committee, Motlatsi Rapetswa expressed serious concern that the project development of the new Mall was likely to collapse if they will not be included or be part of the project plan.
He said 1000 jobs could be lost as a result of vacating the complex.
“The main cause of the delay was that the management of Setsing had never wanted to include us in the proposed plan of constructing the new mall here,” Rapetswa said.
He said they had never refused to make way for the building of the new mall, but were disappointed that the management of the Centre did not include them in the planning; and as for the place where they were to be relocated to was still unidentified.
“It is not true that we refused to vacate the complex, all we want is to have a mall built in our area with us inside it as has always been the case all these years. We are also against the false impression they want to give to the people that we are against the building of the mall.” Rapetswa said
Apparently the contractors were supposed to have started the work already on site but due to the dispute with hawkers, the project had been stalled. Maluti a Phofung local municipality Member of Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Local Economic Development, Sonto Melita Mlangeni Ramathesele has confirmed the development plan of erecting the new mall and stated that they had been engagements between the municipality and hawkers committee, contractor and Centre Management of Setsing to address issues involving all parties.
“Having seen the initial plan of the mall, we then asked the contractor to go back and at least make a provision to ensure that hawkers do not feel left out during the construction progress,” the MMC explained.
For months, the Centre management had been embroiled in a squabble with informal traders, saying they are being preposterous not to vacate the complex site, making it difficult for them to begin with the construction of the new Mall.
Centre Manager Phillip said the purpose of convening the meeting was to engage the hawkers about the management plans to develop the hugely congested complex this year.
“We emphasized to them the need to develop the complex for various reasons that in most cases are difficult to control. And we also articulated the plan to place them in a particular formal way where they would be operating,” said Ngozo.
This new mall is set to create lots of much needed jobs and play a significant role in the economic spinoff for the rural community of Maluti a Phofung local municipality comprising of Qwa Qwa, Kestell and Harrismith.