Council caters for traders in budget

Mayco member for economic growth James Vos speaks to city traders at a recent meeting.

The city council has approved a new container market for some of Wallacedene’s traders.

The market will be on the corner of Botfontein and Boesak roads.

Councillors broached the market as the council approved a R53 million budget to support city traders over the next three years.

During a special council meeting, on Tuesday May 31, for the 2022/2023 and 2024/25 budgets and the new integrated development plan for 2022 to 2027, councillors approved initiatives to improve the small-traders economy.

Mayoral committee member for economic growth James Vos said the initiatives would make the City’s plans to upgrade the working environment of informal traders more “tangible”.

Of the R53m, R19m is planned for projects that will be done within the current financial year.

The projects planned for the short-term are the expansion and improvement of the e-permitting system, which is designed to create smarter e-applications for permits; pipeline projects for dignified and accessible trading spaces; infrastructure upgrades in Uluntu Plaza in Blackheath and the business hives in Atlantis; and the detailed design of the Wallacedene container market by January 2023.

If possible, Mr Vos said, some of those facilities would be fitted with wi-fi.

Mr Vos told Northern News that the first phase of the container market would cost R350 000, which would be subject to the approval of the draft concept designs and the budget allocated for construction.

Feasibility assessments were still being done to finalise the preferred concept that would be considered in the detailed planning process, he said.

These plans come against the backdrop of council freezing increases in trading permits for 2022/’23 and suspending permit payments until December 2022.

Mr Vos punted the budget as one that would build a more inclusive city economy acknowledging and supporting the contribution of informal traders.

ANC ward 6 councillor Siviwe Nodliwa welcomed the idea of the container market. He said he had heard the project could be worth R8m in total.

“It’s definitely going to help with job creation and boosting the economy… What’s also exciting is that our heritage will be on full display as there will be women who sell bead work and other African traditional clothing, as you usually find with traders.”

Mr Vos said small business owners could email to find out about the directorate’s training workshops.

A plan showing the proposed layout of the Wallacedene container market.