The Polokwane Municipality has embarked on a shack-demolishing spree in the CBD, saying it is in contravention of municipal by-laws to erect permanent structures in the city.
This is being done in an effort to prevent criminal activities as it is said that criminals use these shacks to hide or stash stolen items.
Municipal Spokesperson Thipa Selala says as much as the second economy generated through street trading is appreciated, there are by-laws that need to be followed.
“The municipality is caught in a catch-22 situation. If we do not do this then residents complain to the municipality saying the city is dirty and we are doing nothing to clean it up or rectify the contravention of the by-laws. When we implement the removal of these structures, there are also bound to be complaints from those that will be directly affected.”
According to Selala there have been complaints from the formal sector that this second economy is eating into their profits.
“This is the course of action the municipality has decided to take in order to balance the approach to the issues at hand. We are responsible for ensuring that municipal by-laws are adhered to as they were put in place to govern the use of municipal land. The municipality can only accommodate a certain number of people in a particular area within the municipality.”
Currently the municipality is demolishing structures along Excelsior Street, close to the Indian Centre.
This is an ongoing project and the municipality plans on targeting all areas in the city where these illegal structures have been erected.
Selala says stalls are permitted as these have been erected by the municipality. “Any stall or gazebo that is temporary will be allowed on condition that it is dissembled in the evenings.”
Story: Umpha Manenzhe