Fish hawkers along Klipfontein Road will finally have proper trading facilities after a 20-year wait. This comes after the ward councillor for the area, Musthapha Murudker, met with various stakeholders, including fish hawkers, architects and members from various government departments, at the site earmarked for the project last week.
The project forms part of an integrated plan to upgrade the area along Klipfontein Road, which stretches from Mowbray all the way through to Gugulethu.
Construction on the site, at the corner of Johnston and Klipfontein Roads in Athlone, is set to start within the new financial year.
Murudker said the process of building the new facilities would be a "very tedious" one because council would need to work within financial constraints.
Although the formal planning process for the project started earlier this year with the appointment of Jakupa Architects and Urban Designers, interaction with regards to conceptual designs started last year already.
Gabs Pather from Jakupa said the aim of the project was "to create a new approach to the way hawkers trade and to build a structure around the existing movement of people in the area".
Ivan Koopman from the Athlone Fish Hawkers Association said one of the biggest problems the hawkers currently faced was that clients had to stand in the rain during winter. "This is a problem because people don't always want to get out of the car when its raining," Koopman said.
Pather added that the aim was to include toilets, tables for cleaning fish and an undercover trading area in the new facility.
"We also hope to include a storage area and make the area more hygienic," Pather said.
Another problem Koopman and his fellow traders experience is invading traders during their peak trading seasons. "We hope to install a system that will secure the area against invading traders," Murudker said.
Although the hawkers are excited about the project, they said they have been let down by empty promises before. "We are waiting in anticipation to see what will happen this time," Koopman said. In response to this, Murudker said, "We understand the frustration of the people and we want to give them the commitment that we are vociferously lobbying for this project to go ahead".
"We are confident that the building process will start sooner than anticipated," he added.
According to Murudker, costing for the project will be done within the next month.
Also present at the meeting were Graham Mashonga from the City's Economic and Human Development Department - South District, and Ivan Berman from the City Council's Environmental Health Department.