The Tshwane metro has finally given the green light to Johann Mettler, the city manager, to appoint a municipal entity for the management of the Tshwane fresh produce market.
RNews previously reported that farmers, agricultural associations and market agents are extremely concerned about the lack of security, poor maintenance, hygiene standards and especially the effectiveness of market management at the Tshwane fresh produce market.
The market is a prominent trading center for agricultural products and plays an important role in the metro’s economy. With a turnover of approximately R4 billion per year – of which the Tshwane metro collects 5%, or approximately R20 million per month for the operation of the market – there are numerous questions as to why the market has continued to deteriorate for so many years.
Hannes Coetzee, mayoral committee member for economic development and spatial planning at the Tshwane metro, says the fresh produce market operates in a highly competitive environment and high quality services, infrastructure and support are indispensable to operate an efficient fresh produce trading platform.
“To remain relevant and competitive, the fresh produce market must offer excellent facilities and services. The market must also be able to meet agribusiness needs, comply with legal requirements and adapt to changes, trends and threats,” says Coetzee.
“This is a step in the right direction; the market has been plagued by numerous challenges for several years.
“We realize that this is a long-term solution and that its benefits will only be visible after a while. However, the mayor’s committee approved an operating plan to stabilize the fresh produce market,” says Coetzee.
“This plan seeks to address service delivery issues – which will be considered for immediate implementation during the mid-term budget review.”
According to Coetzee, this will have several advantages:
- The Tshwane metro will continue to derive income from a sustainable business model;
- There is a great possibility that the business model will generate greater returns for the metro and the community;
- The community will enjoy an alternative marketing channel that will strengthen competition, as well as provide food safety and security;
- Fresh produce market consumers will enjoy better services and facilities thanks to continuous investment in market facilities, technology and services;
- Enhancing transformation programs to include emerging farmers and BEE agents in this distribution and marketing channel.
Peter Meijer, FF Plus councilor in the Tshwane metro, says he is delighted with the news.
“My aim was for the fresh produce market to become a municipal entity.
“This means that the fresh produce market will no longer be managed by the municipality, but will be an entity on its own.
“In the short period that I have served as a council member, I have seen that the fresh produce market is not working as it should at all. It was always my plan that the market would eventually be converted into an entity and this is finally what will happen now.”
According to Meijer, the city council is not competent to operate the market and the institution will henceforth be managed by a board of directors – which consists of experts connected to the market.
However, Meijer says it will take a lot of time to create the entity.