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Thursday Jan 30, 2014

Durban budgets R100m for Warwick upgrade

Durban has budgeted more than R100 million for the upgrade of the city's historic Warwick Triangle.

The development will see the construction of pedestrian links and trading platforms amounting to R63.5 million and a taxi rank which will cost R59 million, it was announced at a meeting of the full council yesterday.

Funding was also being sought from the National Treasury's Integrated City Development Grant to implement the African Bazaar Project above the proposed taxi rank.

Deputy mayor Nomvuzo Shabalala said issues around the Warwick Triangle project and the Early Morning Market dated back to 2009.

The reason for the delay was that people who were already trading there did not want the development, which initially would have demolished the market to make way for a new mall.

'We will now take steps to make every stakeholder part of the development. The place is a traffic and transport hub and it has never had the development to make it successful,' she said.

Shabalala said they did not want people to be labourers for the rest of their lives. 'A person who was a street trader should also graduate. This is one project we will take pride in,' she said.

IFP councillor Thokozile Gumede said the upgrade was long overdue. 'This will address the needs of safety in the area,' she said.

Although he was happy about the project, National Freedom Party councillor Shaik Emam said it was important to note that it was ratepayers who were paying and not a political party.

The chairman of the traders' association for the Early Morning Market, Harry Ramlal, said they were pleased with the proposed development. However, he raised concerns about the market floor which, he said, had been a 'mess' since last year, after construction workers left without completing their work.

'We were told there was a budget of R700 000 set aside for our market, but we don't know what happened to it, because the work is still not done,' he said.

Ramlal said when they enquired about why the work had not been completed, they were told they were not entitled to know why. 'We don't want to get our hopes up, we will wait and see what happens. It could just be an election ploy. We vote them in and they vote us out,' he said.

Ramlal said the market needed an upgrade. 'But we are prepared for anything from the city and will continue to fight for what we stand for,' he said.

In 2011, plans to demolish the more than 100-year-old Early Morning Market to make way for a mall were put on ice, after legal wrangles between traders and the city, with traders steadfastly refusing to move. The traders argued a mall would destroy their livelihoods.

The Mercury


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