| CAPE TOWN

Traders refuse to sign PRASA’s new lease

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High crime and poor sanitation have been a problem for years

Photo of trader stalls
Traders on the top deck of the Cape Town Railway Station say blocked drains and no toilets for two weeks are among the issues that need to be addressed. Photo: Sune Payne
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Traders on the rooftop of Cape Town Railway Station have delivered a memorandum to PRASA (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa) at a closed meeting, expressing concern over a range of issues. These include crime and sanitation. The association wants PRASA to fix these issues before traders sign a new lease agreement.

The memorandum by the Cape Town Top Deck Small Business Association says “meeting with PRASA has proven to be completely unproductive because they never make good on their promises”.

Fatima Siljeur, the secretary for the association, says the traders on the deck are fed up. “PRASA wants us to sign the new lease, but traders don’t want to sign it. This is because they feel [their] conditions aren’t right.”

Members of the association say that crime is a major problem, both for traders and for the public who use the aisles between the kiosks to access the trains and the taxi rank. Siljeur said that last Thursday there were two cellphone robberies near her stall.

Mohammed Gueye, who has had a stall since 2015, said that on Sunday night his shop was broken into. He sells jewellery and sports caps. He said R3,200 and five caps were stolen.

He said when he told PRASA about the incident and said that the locks needed replacing, officials told him to fix them himself, “otherwise it will take time if they do it”.

Lionel Bonzaier says that there isn’t access to proper sanitation as the tenant toilets have been closed for two weeks already.

Bonzaier said dirty water accumulated in front of a food shop and rubbish piled up behind the stalls. “Nothing has been done about this,” he said.

GroundUp first contacted PRASA for comment on Tuesday. Regional manager Lindelo Matya asked for a copy of the memorandum which GroundUp sent to him on Wednesday morning. Apparently, he then took leave.

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