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Tuesday Oct 16, 2012

Moving Durban market would be bad for Maritzburg

If the Durban fresh produce market relocated to Cato Ridge it would be the death knell of the Pietermaritzburg market, Msunduzi municipal market manager Julie Dyer said in a report to the Msunduzi council.

In the report tabled last week, she said motivation for the move was being driven by Durban agents who wanted access to Midlands buyers. Two fresh produce markets within a 10-minute drive of each other were unsustainable, she said.

The Pietermaritzburg market is in Mkondeni while Durban's fresh produce market is on the Bluff.

Phillip Sithole, the acting deputy city manager for sustainable development at eThekwini, has said the Durban market might move because of the dig-out port expansion as its current site might be required for other businesses.

But no decision had been taken. The possibility of moving was being researched.

Dyer said agents had remarked that large buyers - who drove the sales, prices and turnovers at the Pietermaritzburg market - were opting to go to the Durban market because of the deteriorating conditions and inflexibility of local market processes. The market had also been accused of not paying enough attention to the needs of traders.

"The presence of the Durban market 45 minutes away is the single biggest threat to the [Pietermaritzburg] market and our procedures and tariffs need to be competitive," Dyer said.

The turnover figures for the Pietermaritzburg market in the 2011/2012 financial year were "virtually static" compared to the previous year. This was unusual and disappointing, she said.

A funding proposal of R15 million over three years had been submitted to the co-operative governance department. The amount would cover a backlog of maintenance issues and improve facilities.

The Mercury

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