Tug-of-war over morning market continues

The World Class Cities for All says it will continue to demand that all stakeholders affected by Durban's plan to shut down and demolish the historic Warwick Early Morning Market are consulted at all times.

The city could not press ahead with the demolition of the nearly 100-year-old market after a court order last week. The WCCA represents 11 organisations in the city, all of which are vehemently opposed to plans by the municipality to relocate traders to a proposed R400million mall that will be ready next year.

The organisation yesterday called on Premier Zweli Mkhize to intervene and pronounce on the matter.

WCCA spokesperson Phumzile Xulu told Sowetan that those opposing the new development want to guarantee the site for future gene rations of informal traders.

"We want all concerned groups to be included in the negotiation process and in further planning around the process. We believe that the premier is the only one who can stop the city from going ahead with the project.

"The premier has ordered a provincial task team to look into the matter and, while we will continue to work with the team, we believe he needs to step in and assist those affected," she said.

Xulu said the WCCA held the view that "development was needed but that such development must involve the affected people. The people inside and around the market were not consulted".

Xulu accused the city of having failed to conduct an environmental assessment study into the project, not following correct tender processes and has only made verbal promises throughout and has never once committed in writing.

Traders at the market and surrounding areas, including Warwick Junction, Berea station, Brook Street, the Herb Market and others are opposed to the city's plans.

They say they will suffer huge revenue losses if the market is demolished. The city announced earlier that it intended demolishing the market and giving a 50-year lease to private property developers to build a new mall or market.

City manager Michael Sutcliffe said the new development will benefit all traders, especially those that trade on the pavements in unprotected areas.

Sutcliffe said the proposed new development aims at improving public transport, including building a fly-over freeway that would divert traffic away from the area because it is always congested.

"The developers of the proposed Warwick shopping centre and government will invest R1,5billion into the area in the next five years, creating many job opportunities especially for the youth," he said.