Trader group sidelined

Isaac Jenecke, Secretary of the Kuils River Shoprite Area Traders’ Association (KSATA)

The article “Traders welcome training” (Northern News, June 22) has sidelined an important trader organisation KSATA (Kuils River Shoprite Area Traders Association).

We attended the conference in the Convention Centre in Cape Town with a host of trader associations from across the city.

The article was silent about the input of the Kita Concerned Traders’ Association, a past break away from KITA and also that made by the Kuils River Civic Association in the longstanding issue at the flea market in Kuils River.

These are things which are on record and resulted in Public Protector action about the flea market.

There is also the 2004 NNT public participation report which put the market under the spotlight.

KSATA was formed as a counter to KITA.

KITA is based at Shoprite Kuils River where we are (also) based.

The Northern News is on record as having published the instructions given by Ward 11 councillor Jacob Jacobswith regards to the financial management of the flea market.

Concessions, introduced to the flea market through the City of Cape Town was the result of the above mentioned complaint lodged at the Public Protector.

No action of KITA brought on this as the concessions were introduced to stop KITA issuing stalls on the City property.

Some of the remaining complaints are the fact that some KITA traders hold more than one trading bay.

There are huge quarrels among trader leaders from the three organisations about which rules should apply to traders.

It must be stressed, that some traders do not belong to organisations and the City should liaise with them as they have rights.

KSATA was formed to oppose KITA and to represent the interests of traders that did not get on with KITA.

There are two management areas the one is controlled by KITA and the other by KSATA. The Nooiensfontein Block Association does not have a management area.

The experiences of traders in front of the Shoprite Centre door is easily understood by a reading of the article in Northern News.

Kuils River Civic fought for these marginalised trading people even from the time when people traded at the Kuils River station as part of the anti-apartheid struggle and it is this that makes the article ill-informed as KITA, established in 1999, did not approve of trading beyond the core bays.

This is what the one woman in the article says when she explains how they were told where not to trade. The article is creating a false impression of the history.

Ms October from KITA who is featured in the article has been in the position of chairperson of KITA for a short while – not even for two months or so. Her statement carried by Northern News, that there is over trading, must be in the KITA management area and is in contradiction to other negative statements about law enforcement in the same article.

KITA supported law enforcement when they upheld no trading areas and against people standing on the stoep and in front of the doors. Is she now saying KITA was wrong?

She is quoted in the article as saying that traders are making less money because the market is flooded, in column two paragraph four , and that there is a shortage of bays in column one.

That, is why KSATA has repeatedly said the City should enforce the policy of one stall per household to the KITA management side and apply this requirement especially to the current KITA.

The City has been weak in its property management at the flea market and that is why they did not even know traders are operating under the complained about conditions at Kuils River.

There are regular complaints about management at the area.

People are fighting KSATA because we are calling for an end to KITA’s control.

We say organisations should hand control to the City and the City should deal with traders one on one per trading bay.

Right now, we know the local City official does not have a data basis for the concessions issued. There is no acceptable data base and contradictions exist.

We also want to know how KITA got a management contract from the City in 1998 without a tender process and what took place until the Kuils River Civic intervened in the said process, by going to the City Ombudsman and Public Protector after which a City official was sent out to start the inventory process at Kuils River?

Things deteriorated after this offical left the market about five years ago, and another person took over.

All in all, we don’t think the article was a very informed piece of writing on such a sensitive and far reaching topic.

We are here and were ignored by the reporter, who now says that the article is about a trader expressing her happiness with training, but in the article salient points to counter our case in the public eye was made without asking our side for comment.

That is the problem.

* Northern News responds:

Northern News was told of the training by members of the Kuils River Informal Traders’ Association (KITA). The focus of the story was on the skills they’ve attained and not the infighting and longstanding issues between the traders.