Kuyasa market stalls remain closed after 10 years

The City of Cape Town says that there are individual leaders in Kuyasa who continue to prevent and threaten the City not to let the stalls to traders and small businesses. Photo by Sinethemba Mbewana

Despite spending R180-million on the Kuyasa Interchange in 2008, the market stalls at the station have remained white elephants.

The City of Cape Town has blamed some community leaders in the Kuyasa area for the 10-year long closure of market stalls at the station. According to Mayoral Member for Urban Management, Grant Twigg, the City has been prevented by some leaders from letting the stalls to traders and businesses. “The City has been prevented from letting them out to community traders and businesses, by individuals within the community leadership, who have threatened both City officials and the appointed service providers within this precinct,” said Twigg.

The market stalls at the Kuyasa railway station were built in 2008. According to Twigg, the stalls were constructed as part of the Kuyasa railway station and taxi rank complex. “The market stalls were part of this much larger development with an overall budget of approximately R180-million.” He could not say how much money had been spent on building the market stalls only.

Ward 95 Councillor, Andile Lili disagrees with the City as he believes that the main problem is that the City wants to let the stalls to people from other communities. “The City wants these stalls to be used by people from other communities and even outside of Khayelitsha. We won’t allow that to happen when there are people from Kuyasa that have been waiting for years for these stalls to be opened,” said Lili.

Lili, who is a member of the provincial legislature on behalf of the African National Congress, said that the City is dragging its feet: “Ever since they were built, people applied to use the stalls and they are waiting to this day, the City of Cape Town must put a notice out for the availability of the stalls but I don’t see any willingness to do so by the City,” said Lili.

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Nosana Mamkeli who sells fruit and vegetables at the train station said that the location of the stalls is not ideal as they are far from where commuters walk. “The stalls are far from the entrance to the station so we wouldn’t use them even if they would be available to us,” said Mamkeli.

Asavela Kewu, an informal trader who braais meat, echoed Mamkeli’s view on the location of the market stalls: “If rent is going to be affordable, yes, I would move but the stalls are far, that is the problem,” he said.

Zimbabwean traders, Godingo Zinhiva and Manatsa Banga, have a welding business not too far from the station. They said that they would love to make use of the stalls as long as security is guaranteed at the train station.

Because they are unoccupied, the market stalls have been vandalised and they would have to be repaired and some of the doors have degraded. The City says that the cost of maintaining the market stalls would be available at the end of September.