Mayor set on cleaning up Pretoria's inner city
EFFORTS to clean up the Pretoria city centre will be a painful process that must be tackled, Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said.
He said the city was putting into effect a long-term strategy, dubbed Tshwane 2055, to overthrow "anarchy".
"It's going to be a very painful exercise and there will be casualties," he said.
"People are used to the status quo and we are tampering with that status quo. Naturally, people respond by resisting."
The city has been at loggerheads with informal traders and some residents who were forced to vacate their stalls and flats.
Yesterday, Tshwane Hawkers Association chairman Shoes Maloka said his organisation was planning a protest march in the city this week. The Schubart Park Residents Committee also said it had scheduled its protest march for July 26.
"They have the right to march and we (will) give them the necessary permits to march. They should march in a manner that is consistent with the law; we will take the pain," said Ramokgopa.
The municipality was engaging in a strategy to revitalise the Pretoria's city centre that was aimed at attracting business investments to the inner city.
"We want to bring life into the inner city. Part of the problem we are dealing with is that the city goes to sleep at six in the evening. We want to have some residential character - where people can wine and dine."
Ramokgopa said the municipality would soon announce the launch of an operation code-named "Reclaim".
The Tshwane Hawkers Association earlier said efforts to regulate hawkers in the inner city, had left some young people h with no means of income, resorting to crime.
"Many young people have now abandoned the honest business of selling. Some have resorted to crime while others spend days gambling around the city to eke (out) a living," said Maloka. "Since January we have not been able to make money through selling in the city. Remember most of us are breadwinners and we have many (financial) commitments."
Maloka said the vendors were incensed because officials were relocating them from their usual stalls to new posts on the outskirts of the city.