THE decision by some members of the the Early Morning Market Traders Association's (EMMTA) working committee to support the Warwick Junction development in Durban has created further divisions between the eThekwini municipality and the association.
The working committee said on Tuesday that it was fully behind the development of the mall and supported the municipality 100 percent. Working committee chairperson Nicholas Zondo claimed that a "small group" was against the development.
"We could not allow a situation where a few individuals with ulterior motives spoke on behalf of traders, opposing the development and presenting their own views and saying they are speaking on behalf of us, the traders, " Zondo said".
"I want to make it crystal clear that we are in favour of this development because it is going to benefit us as informal traders and help us grow.
"The people opposing it are doing so because they know that they are exploiting others and are full of corruption.
The EMMTA is backed by various civic organisations that are against the planned development. They are unhappy that the new development will mean the demolition of the current "historical" site, which is 90 years old and part of the heritage of the city. They feel demolition would disadvantage them economically.
Harry Ramlall, chairperson of the EMMTA, reiterated their earlier stand that they were against the construction of the mall.
"People must understand that we are not against development, but against the demolition of the Early Morning Market. All we are saying is that a mall can be built, but not on the current site of the market," he said.
The EMMTA has filed a high court action against the city and the matter is to be heard later this month.
But Zondo lashed out at the association. He said they were opposed to the development because they owned a number of stalls and rented them out to informal traders, which would not happen at the new development.
"What we know is that each and every trader would have his own permit and not be exploited by someone else. The new mall will provide a better future and create an environment for informal traders to grow," Zondo said.
He said they would hold a march under the theme "Operation dedel'intuthuko" (let development flow) next Wednesday, at which they would handa memorandum of support to MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu.
Ramlall was adamant that the EMMTA had the interests of traders at heart: "We will not be part of the march and I can assure you that those people participating are a crowd hired by the municipality, and not informal traders."