business as usual

THE Durban high court yesterday gave hope to the Early Morning Market traders by setting aside a ruling on the impending demolition of the 99-year-old site.

The eThekwini municipality had given traders until today to vacate the site because it would start the process of demolishing it to prepare for the construction of a R400million mall and transport node.

But the Early Morning Market Association, which represents the traders, went to court yesterday to apply for an urgent interdict to stop the demolition and won.

Making his ruling on the matter, Judge Herbert Msimang set aside the matter until all the relevant stakeholders were present to make their submissions.

Msimang said it was "important that the developers must be in court" before a decision is taken.

"Both sides of the story have to be heard before the court makes its ruling. It is essential that the developers are present in this court before any decision is taken," he said.

He adjourned the matter to August 15, when he will subpoena the developers to appear before the court and to decide the date for the hearing.

The decision was welcomed by the traders.

"We are extremely happy about the ruling. It simply means that there won't be any demolition tomorrow.

"The market will be operating as normal and we urge the people who have always been supporting us to come and buy as they have been doing all along," said Harry Ramlall, chairperson of the association.

Ramlall said he was "even more excited that they would no longer be subjected to persecution from the municipal authorities, especially from the Metro cops who have been harassing us and vandalising our stalls and confiscating our products".

He insisted that they were not against the development, but wanted an assurance from the municipality that the market would still be operational.