Upset over Brooklyn traders

According to the Brooklyn Ysterplaat Neighbourhood Watch, there are about eight informal traders now in the area. This is about double the number they had last year.

Brooklyn residents say growing numbers of informal traders are leaving their neighbourhood in a mess and they want the City to move them.

Fay Vogel, of the Brooklyn, Ysterplaat and Rugby Residents’ Association (BYRRA), says they have long battled to stop informal trading mushrooming along Koeberg Road.

There has now been an increase in people selling braaied meat and mealies in the area, say residents.

Emails between City departments and the BYRRA last year tell of an interdepartmental meeting, arranged by ward councillor Fabian Ah-Sing, to discuss problems in the area.

In the correspondence, Dowayne Koopman, administrative officer for Sub-council 15, notes one of the traders claims to get permission from a nearby shopowner to trade but the shopowner then denies this, making it hard to issue a fine or compliance notice.

Ms Vogel said that the City had not given BYRRA or the residents any feedback.

“The issue has just gotten worse in our area. We have new traders popping up along the main road and in some other streets. It seems like the City or their law enforcement are not interested.”

Other residents said they feared their neighbourhood would start looking dirty.

Shamemah Bell, a Brooklyn resident, said: “I get that people want to make a living, and I am not against that, but they leave the place in a bad state, throwing their rubbish in the drains and causing more issues.”

Cheryl Castle, chairwoman of the Brooklyn Ysterplaat Neighbourhood Watch, said it felt like they were fighting a losing battle.

“We have seen an increase of these traders from about three or four to around eight now. We fear for the people and children in the neighbourhood now. There are people that drink at these stalls, and, in some cases, there are drugs involved. We have schools nearby, and it’s a dangerous situation,” she said.

“One trader, who did not want to be named because he feared victimisation, said those complaining were exaggerating.

“They say that we throw our rubbish in the streets, leaving the area dirty, but they don’t realise that we also live in the area and just want to make a living. We are law-abiding citizens and we care for the community too. We can’t help that some people take advantage and want to do illegal things.”

Mr Ah-Sing said he had received many complaints about illegal open braais on Koeberg Road.

“There are plans to remove all illegal informal traders. At this point in time, emphasis is on the illegal open braais because of the dangers they present to the community.

“We had a law enforcement operation on Tuesday February 18 to enforce by-law compliance and focused on the illegal open braais in the area and five compliance notices were issued.”

Ms Vogel said they wanted the traders moved out of the neighbourhood.

“These are transgressions on the City’s by-laws. It’s as simple as that. We can’t let this carry on in our area,” she said.

The Brooklyn Ysterplaat Neighbourhood Watch were due to patrol the area last night, Tuesday, while the BYRRA plan to meet tomorrow, Thursday March 5, at Ysterplaat Primary School, at 7pm, to discuss the issue.

Mr Ah-Sing said his ward had an informal traders plan showing where informal traders could set up.

“At present, none of the bays in the plan are on Koeberg Road. I also am in the process of amending the informal traders plan with the assistance of City officials. The plan is to add a limited number of informal trading bays in strategic spots on Koeberg Road.

“Informal traders need to apply to the City to make use of one of the informal trading bays which are indicated in the informal traders plan,” he said.