Call to manage markets

The City is looking for a management agency for Greenmarket Square and St Georges Mall.

The City of Cape Town is looking for a managing agent for the markets on Greenmarket Square and St George’s Mall.

The public have until Monday September 30 to comment on the proposal.

Ward councillor for the area, Dave Bryant, said the advertisement of the contract follows a process started in 2013 via a motion to sub-council.

He said the City was looking for an agency to commit to a three-year contract, with the option of renewal, to ensure a safe, clean and an aesthetically appealing public space, adding that specific commitments would be concluded later.

“The City is looking for a single managing agent for this space as both the mall and the market have similar activities and challenges and are part of the pedestrian flow to the north and west,” he said.

Mr Bryant said due to heavy pedestrian usage, the space requires constant maintenance to keep it in an acceptable condition.

“There was an outcry from the property owners about crime and grime, the disregard of parking regulations, and the lack of constant repairs to damaged areas.”

The City then embarked on a three-year pilot project with the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) to assist with cleaning and visibility on the Greenmarket Square and St George’s Mall (“Revitalising public spaces, CapeTowner, November 17 2017).

“The pilot project (with the CCID) indicated marked improvements that led to a decrease in traffic offences, a cleaner space and a decrease in petty crime that often targeted tourists and locals.”

The chief executive officer of the CCID, Tasso Evangelino, said since the pilot project started in August 2017, the CCID’s social development department teamed up with Khulisa Social Solutions’ Streetscapes programme to provide structured work opportunities for the homeless on Greenmarket Square as part of the CCID’s public space management programme.

Participants on the programme include homeless people and repeat offenders who are often unable to stay at shelters due to heavy drinking or drug use.

CCID social manager, Pat Eddy, said the programme had continued with much success, and that there was a daily attendance of over 80% among participants, which is very heartening. “There has also been a significant improvement in anti-social behaviour among the participants who strive for a better life off the street,” she said.

The contract had since expired, and Mr Evangelinos said the CCID now sponsors cleaning on Greenmarket Square and in St George’s Mall. “A team of cleaners, comprising one foreman and two workers, from the non-governmental organisation Straatwerk, contracted the CCID, to clean both areas from Monday to Friday from 11am to 3pm.”

He did not say whether the CCID had applied to manage the space.

Mr Bryant said hopefully the appointment will create a positive and attractive environment and will encourage the flow of tourists and local pedestrians who will visit the market and transact in a safe environment.

The City said over the past financial year, Greenmarket Square had generated an income of just over R1.29 million from 196 informal traders and St George’s Mall generated just over R326 000 from 103 informal traders.

The market is a public space and at times is used for events other than trading, such as the free annual jazz concert ahead of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

Mr Bryant did not say how much traders pay for a space.

Meanwhile, some traders on Greenmarket Square and St George’s Mall thought the space could benefit from a management agency, and feel that the space has been somewhat neglected. The traders did not want to be named for fear of victimisation. A trader from St George’s Mall, who has been at the market for three years, said business was becoming slow.

He said the streets were not as clean as they used to be. However, he said, the CCID was very visible. “There is an occasional snatch-and-grab, but it is not out of control.”

What was out of control, he said, was the situation with homeless people, who relieved themselves everywhere and harass the tourists. “It’s really not good for business. Tourists don’t come here anymore – it would be good for someone to sort this out.”

Another trader at St George’s Mall, who has been trading there for 18 years, said there was no control over who opens a stall, and there were too many stalls selling the same items.

“When we first came to trade here, your products had to be unique. Now, anyone sells anything – there is no control.”

He also said the homeless people were a real problem, as some of them are rude, and harass people.

A trader at Greenmarket Square, who has been trading for 15 years, said business is the worst it’s ever been. “Greenmarket Square is a historical market. People should be taking a special interest in the space, but we have been neglected.”

He said they need someone on the ground to see to the day-to-day running of the market, and to see that traders stick to their permits.