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Tuesday Aug 20, 2013

Cape Town plans new life for 'tired' Greenmarket Square

Cape Town's Greenmarket Square is up for grabs as the city is looking to appoint new management to revitalise the area and turn it into a 'premium market'.

Yesterday councillor Dave Bryant submitted a motion to the Good Hope Subcouncil to appoint a contractor to manage the area, saying the city did not have the capacity to effectively manage the area. A wider range of goods, more live music and improved cleaning and marketing of the popular area is wanted.

Bryant said the city had also received several complaints about littering and other operational problems at the market.

Greenmarket Square was marred by controversy in 2007 when it emerged that former controversial city councillor Badhi Chaaban, who controlled the area for 15 years, owed the city R3.3 million in lease fees.

In June 2007 the council took a decision to end Chaaban's lease and regain control of the square.

Chaaban and then-mayor Helen Zille and other political heavyweights in the council were involved in a heated dispute at the time, but in the end it was the city that gained control of the square.

Yesterday Bryant said the square was the second-oldest public space in the city and was for many years a popular market which sold a variety of goods but lacked proper management.

'The square went through a turbulent period of mismanagement in the late 1900s and early 2000s... Allegations of corruption and collusion followed and the City of Cape Town was subsequently forced to administer the square itself,' Bryant said.

However, following an upgrade at the square before the 2010 World Cup, Bryant said the square failed to live up to its full potential. He said there were also a number of complaints over the years about littering, with mess being left being by traders after hours.

'At the end of the day, cleaning is left to the Central City Improvement District to clean, but it is not their responsibility. We have also had complaints about the goods being sold there, with people calling for a wider range of goods to be sold.'
Bryant said a contractor would be responsible for finding a broader range of traders.

He listed challenges at the square as lack of full-time management, branding and active marketing.

Bryant said the square was also in need of appropriate live entertainment.

The Good Hope Subcouncil agreed to make a recommendation to the economic, environmental and spatial planning and community services directorates to define the roles of a potential contractor. A recommendation will then go to full council to tender for a managing contractor.

'At the moment, there is no official manager for the square; there is a traders' representative group and although they have good intentions, we don't think they have the capacity to manage it to our standards.

'Our informal traders unit deals with basic trading compliance to make sure people aren't overtrading, but they are very thinly stretched,' Bryant said.

Cape Times


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