A feud is brewing between Buffalo City Metro and hawkers who make a living selling meat at Mdantsane’s Highway.
The metro has allegedly threatened to arrest them if they do not move their stalls to make way for a multi-million rand development project.
There was anger when acting head of the department for municipal services, Neo Moerane, announced yesterday at an engagement with stakeholders that the meat hawkers would be the first to be removed from the busy Sandile Road.
Affected sellers accused the municipality of failing to engage with them on the matter.
The hawkers admitted they received “a final warning” from the municipality in May, but claimed BCM failed to communicate where they would be moved to.
“All we received were threats from the law enforcement and the police, there was no consultation at all from BCM.
“They told us we were not needed where we operate and that our time here has come to an end now.
“We were told they are going to renovate Highway and that the meat we sell is not healthy therefore we should move,” said seller Sandisile Mgangxela, adding that residents would declare “war” on the municipality should they be forcibly removed from the area.
“Where are we going to move to? They did not tell us where we should move to. We have been selling this meat for more than 30 years in this place.
“This is how we raised our children, this is how we put food on the table and pay for their schooling. Where do they want us to move to?
“We have nowhere else to go because our business needs people and this is where thousands of people see us and buy from us,” said distraught granny Buyiswa Dlulane.
However Moerane said the metro was “ready to start soon” and the hawkers who sold mostly tripe and beef meat would be the first to be removed when the Mdantsane Urban Hub precinct work starts.
She did not say where the hawkers would be moved and instead said an announcement would be made through print media and radio stations to inform residents which roads would close and when work would begin on Sandile Road, where the hawkers operate.
This is part of a major development project for which the National Treasury has made R20-million available to start the project.
“We are going to start soon, we will start with the Sandile Road and we will remove the stand where people walk around, we will narrow it down,” Moerane said.
Moerane said the hawkers had been consulted, but could not be part of the stakeholders workshop yesterday as they worked all day.
However, angry hawkers disputed the claims and said they were not even told about the workshop which saw business and social activists voice their concerns at the Mdantsane Sun hotel yesterday.
“We will talk to the hawkers and ask them again if they do realise that we will move them first and we will continuously talk to them,” Moerane said — firstname.lastname@example.org