Ricochet News

Proposed Ebuhlanti entrance fee will kill our businesses: Hawkers

BY YOLANDA PALEZWENI - APRIL 24, 2017
Proposed Ebuhlanti entrance fee will kill our businesses: Hawkers

Hawkers at East London's popular hang-out spot, Ebuhlanti, are anxious and fear losing business following a proposal by the Border-Kei Chamber of Business last week Wednesday that the Buffalo City Municipality introduces an entrance fee to help cover the costs of introducing a management structure to the place.

Speaking to RNEWS, one of the Ebuhlanti hawkers, Ntombikayise Magaba Madolo, said that if the proposal is implemented, their businesses will suffer as not everyone of their customers will be able to afford the proposed fee and still have money to buy and braai meat at the facility, also known as the Marina Glen.

“Already we are suffering, every morning we come with hope that someone will come and buy our meat. If they go through with this fee, we are going to lose more customers,” said Madolo.

She added that selling meat and other items was oftne the only source of income for many of the hawkers at the site.

"We are poor and selling meat is what puts food on the table for our families. We are devastated with this whole thing,” added Madolo.

Another hawker, Nompucuko Mamnkwayi Mahlanyana, said that last year, in December, all the hawkers at Ebuhlanti were asked to move from the site to another spot for the municipality to clean and renovate the place.

“We were asked to move because municipality wanted to clean the place, but because it was our busy season, we asked that the renovations be done in January.

"The authorities must find the money for the upgrades somewhere else - and not introduce a fee for our patrons,” described Mahlanyana.

She agreed that renovations and a clean up are needed to help make the place more attractive to locals, which will also mean a lot more customers for them, but said an entrance fee will just deter many from coming.

East London resident and a regular at Ebuhlanti, Sibabalwe Tunzi, agreed and said that the proposed entrance fee is not a good idea as not everyone he knows will afford to pay it. 

“I wouldn’t be surprised if next year, it is proposed that we pay entrance fee at the beach. Ebuhlanti is a public space for everyone to enjoy I don’t understand why we have to pay for it,” Tunzi added.

However, the Ebuhlanti Hawkers Association is more than willing to pay rent for the stands if municipality renovates the area and make sure it’s clean and secure.

“We really do not have problem with paying rent for our stands when the place is clean and secured. It is the proposed entrance fee for our patrons that we are against - it will not work in our favour as we are also going to be directly affected by it," concluded Madolo.

Image courtesy of Fiona Steven via Facebook