Masiphumelele taxi rank plan meets opposition

Some residents oppose demolition of craft centre

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Photo of thatched houses
The craft centre in Masiphumelele is to be demolished to make way for a taxi rank. Photo: Thembela Ntongana

The craft centre in Masiphumelele is to be demolished to make way for a taxi rank. But some residents say they would prefer a permanent police station on the premises.

“Our priority is getting a police station, a permanent police station, not a taxi rank,” said community activist Vuyo Bhashula.

At present Masiphumelele is served by a temporary police station.

According to ward councillor Felicity Purchase, the City plans to build a taxi rank in Masiphumelele and demolish the Two Oceans craft centre, which was built in 1998 in collaboration with False Bay College.

Purchase said the centre had been closed when the college lost its mandate from National Government to do further education and training.”

“When the principal of the training centre retired, the facility was run by a team from Masiphumelele and the College, but it was never the success it had been previously. It later became an asset of the Tourism Department to try and facilitate tourist activities, but tenants were intermittent and it was plagued by vandalism and theft. Eventually, it was used as a depot for storing products during the housing developments,” said Purchase.

She said there would be some space for informal traders as well as small retail and office accommodation next to the new taxi rank when it was developed.

Bashula said the new taxi rank could be built where the current taxi rank is.

“We do not need a new rank. If they want to build one, why don’t they do it on the land that it is currently on? The last time they promised us that they would use this land to build the police station that we have been asking for.

“Who has agreed to this, was the community consulted? Because we do not know about it,” he said.

Eric Begala, who teaches performing arts to young people, said he was one of the first people to perform at the craft centre and was sad to hear it would be demolished. The new taxi rank could be built on the site of the present taxi rank, he said.

“That craft centre gave me many opportunities that the youth of Masiphumelele need,” he said.

He said he had contacted officials in several government departments asking for the centre to be handed over to the community instead of closed down.

“No one is listening to what we want,” said Begala.

But City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Transport Brett Herron said the taxi rank proposal, part of the World Design Capital initiative, had been discussed at a meeting in April 2014 to which community members, taxi associations and sub-councillors had been invited. A further meeting had been held in September 2014 at which the Masiphumelele Taxi Association had expressed support for the plan, Herron said.

He said the current taxi rank was too small and the new rank would improve the flow of taxis in and out.

TOPICS:  Arts and culture Transport

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