With no shelter at the Ebuhlanti, also known as Tsholomnqa, Taxi Rank in East London, vendors are left with no option but to stop working when it rains. The lack of a proper facility to cover their food stalls during bad weather is costly.
Hawker Nobuntu Mafanya said on Monday she had to throw away three bags of products after they were soaked in the rain.
“It is horrible to work here; I lost R600 when I had to throw away my products. Whenever it rains, we know that we either lose money by not coming to work or suffer product damage.”
The unemployed mother of four said their pleas for help from the municipality fell on deaf ears.
“I have been selling at this rank for the past 30 years, yet we still have no shelter despite numerous calls to the municipality to help us.”
She could not provide details on how many hawkers were at the rank. However, she said almost half the women did not work after Monday morning’s showers.
“We have children to support. Staying at home and not being able to work affects not just the women here, but their entire families who depend on them for a living.”
Her words were echoed by Simanye Feni who was soaking wet when the Daily Dispatch spoke to her.
“I have been here for the past 10 years yet we see no change. Our stands are wet; I cannot cook my russians in this weather. We just want a shelter. We get wet and it is cold here. We have asked the municipality to help us on many occasions.
“They just send people to come and inspect and we never see them again.”
Metro spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya said: “The designs [for the shelter] are currently being undertaken and this year we have budgeted for the design costs for shelters, hawker facilities and toilets.
“Then, from the design stage we will know how much we will need for the construction at the Ebuhlanti Taxi Rank. Currently we have R1.5m [set aside] for designs.
Taxi driver Bonisile Dyani said they were still waiting for Buffalo City Metro to honour their promise to build a shelter at the rank. He described working at the rank as horrible.
“It is dirty, it feels like we are in a dumpsite. It is frustrating to work here. We do not understand why the municipality is not building the rank because they had said it was part of their plan. I recently drove to Dutywa and I was surprised to see taxi ranks that side have a shelter, yet we are in a metro , and we struggle to be assisted by our leaders.”
He said: “The people are now fed up; they are tired of empty promises from the municipality. Even us taxi drivers have to sit inside our vehicles and we can’t go out to assist people when they are coming to the taxi rank with their groceries.”