30 NOVEMBER 2017
Brand New Facility for Mealie Traders
Informal traders who sell cooked mealies in the City will now have a suitable facility to prepare their food after Mayor Zandile Gumede officially opened a R3.5 million Mealie Cooker Facility that will accommodate 70 traders.
The opening of this fully fitted state-of-the-art kitchen situated at the Warwick Avenue took place during the Informal Traders Imbizo on 29 November at Curries Fountain where Mayor Gumede also outlined a number of plans aimed at empowering the traders.
A teary-eyed Thandi Zondi, 45, who couldn’t stop ululating said no amount of words can express their gratitude to the Municipality for the new facility. “This mealie business has been paying my bills for over 30 years and I managed to pay for my children’s education.”
The new kitchen, she said, will boost business efficiency and attract new customers.
Cutting the ribbon to declare the facility open, Mayor Gumede said it is one of the City’s endless efforts to provide support for the growth and development of small businesses.
“The facility will protect traders from inclement weather conditions and afford them a perfect opportunity to access markets, thereby increasing their sales and profits,” she said.
Mayor Gumede said small businesses are key engines to economic growth, adding that mealie cookers in the Warwick Avenue has proved to be a lucrative part of the informal economy.
The facility is equipped with a cooking area, change rooms, toilets, showers, storage, offices as well as provision of services such as cleaning, refuse removal, water, electricity and security.
Mayor Gumede said the facility is part of a number of infrastructure developments budgeted to the tune of R350 million to be provided over a three year financial period. The developments, she said, are aimed at boosting informal businesses.
The projects include upgrades of business hives, retail markets, traditional herbs and medicine market, mealie cooker facilities, buy back centres for cardboard recycling, food court markets, shelters, kiosks, container parks and storage facilities for traders’ goods.
“Acquisition of three buildings to house informal businesses conducting various business activities ranging from manufacturing, arts and craft are well underway in the Pinetown Central Business District and inner City,” she added.
Furthermore, Mayor Gumede revealed that the City has set aside R38 million towards upgrading the public realm in preparation for the Warwick Mall Development.
Meanwhile, Mayor Gumede also officially launched a ground-breaking bulk buying project that was piloted in the Phoenix, Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (PINK areas) in partnership with IThala Limited and North Region Business Owners Association.
She said the City has invested resources and funds in this project to assist mainly tuck shop owners towards their development.
Mayor Gumede said the success of the informal economy is critical in driving more job creation and economic growth as the sector contributes R8 billion annually into the City’s economy.
Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Head of Communications Tozi Mthethwa
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