Power freezes profits

Informal trader Unathi Sita shows Vukani the main electricity box which they claim has been vandalised last year.

Meat vendors operating next to Nonkqubela train station, in Site B, are accusing the City of Cape Town of failing them as they have not had electricity for 10 months now.

They said they have made numerous attempts to have their electricity box fixed after it was vandalised in May last year.

The vendors say they are now losing a lot of money as they are often forced to discard some of their meat which goes off quickly in the heat.

The vendors, who have small fridges connected to the main box, say the lack of electricity has also shortened their working hours as consumers cannot eat in the dark.

Vendor Matshezi Sita, who has been running a meat business for 28 years, said they used to keep their meat in the fridge. However, they have now been forced to buy ice to keep the meat cold and fresh.

She said even though this strategy seemed to work, it also took away some of their earnings. She said they live far from the station and that on its own was a problem. They have to travel between their homes and the station to get the ice.

She described the situation as frustrating. She said they had reported the matter to local leaders and authorities on numerous occasions.

“We used to sell fresh and tasty meat here but now we can’t do that. Our meat now is exposed to too much heat and now it turns brown and attracts flies which then turns off customers.The truth now is that we sell half of our stocks and the other half gets discarded in the dustbin,” she said.

Ms Sita also claimed that the last time their stalls had been painted and revamped was almost two decades ago and they feel that they have been neglected.

The traders said winter is fast approaching which means that it will get darker earlier and they will have to close even earlier.

Ms Sita said they were also battling to access water and they constantly have to beg for water from nearby residents.

Another trader, Sandiswe Panda, said her electricity box in her stall had been vandalised and she has tried countless times to get it fixed, but all her attempts were unsuccesful.

Ms Panda said she is just selling enough goods to get by now and their pleas for help have fallen on deaf ears.

Ando Nstodo, mayoral committee member for Area East, said the City of Cape Town’s Enterprise Development Department can confirm that the informal trading facility in Khayelitsha, Nonkqubela Informal Markets, was vandalised.

However, he said, the incident was not reported to the City’s district facility manager.

He alleges that the City has initiated the process for urgent repairs to be done.

“Usually, the Nonkqubela informal traders report problems experienced at the facility. The Enterprise Development Department would like to once again urge the traders to report such incidents immediately to either City officials at the district office or the City’s Law Enforcement Department toll-free on 0800 225 669.

“Traders could also report incidents to the nearest police station. The City can only address such issues timeously if these issues are brought to our attention.

“The City requests the Nonkqubela informal traders to advise and assist the City to prevent this situation from happening again,” he said.