Shop owners at the Khayelitsha Sanlam Centre are furious at having been kicked out for the development of a new mall in the township. Construction on the R250-million Nonqubeka Link Mall began in July and is set to give the area a major boost, but tenants at the former Sanlam Centre where the mall is to be built say they were not consulted and were given short notice to move out.
And they say the developer, Jali Bakoro of Bakoro Management, has not given them an alternative venue to trade.
Phumla Nabe partner at hardware store Stofile Family Enterprise said when she looked at the plans for the development she realised her shop was going to be replaced with a food court.
Nabe said the shop had been operating for 14 years and she had a lease with the Sanlam Centre in which she was paying R23,000 a month, but did not even receive a formal notice that her shop would have to close.
Instead, she said on May 29 she was simply told that she had to relocate by June 15 and the electricity in her, and other, stores had been disconnected.
She said she was “disappointed” by the way Bakoro had “badly” treated tenants.
She said when tenants struck a meeting with him three weeks ago he demanded it happen in the Harare police station so he could feel protected.
She said at the meeting Bakoro said he had no relationship with tenants and they should respect his development.
But small shop owner who were ousted were furious that five big chain stores were allowed to continue operating while the new mall construction was going on.
“He can put his mall in Constantia if he is going to kick us out like that. He wants to make Khayelitsha white,” she said.
Khaynet Internet café owner Mandla Olifant was also furious with the way he’d been treated. Olifant said he’d been forced to close his café and didn’t have a venue to trade.
He said he had to move out of his shop on July 31 and was worried that, even when he found another venue, he would have lost many of his customers.
He said Sanlam Centre tenants had filled in application forms to trade in the new mall, but there was “no guarantee”.
The mall which is expected to have space for small enterprises alongside larger retailers, is pegged to generate jobs for 400 Khayelitsha residents in the construction phase.
The 30,000 square metre development is set to have secure parking, a fashion court, banks and mainstream store brands such as KFC and Shoprite.
Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF) chairperson Zamayedwa Sogayise said he welcomed the development.
Sogayise said tenants had tried to take their grievances to the High Court but their application was dismissed.
Bakoro said the matter was a “minor issue” and was the result of a misunderstanding between stakeholders.
He said tenants would be provided containers to trade from and those wanting to trade once the mall was complete could re-apply for a venue. — West Cape News