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Best news for years – Nocci

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Mabilo met traders recently at the Kimberley City Hall in order to forge a partnership to improve sustainable local economies and maintain a clean city

from left to right: The executive director - community services, Khuza Bogacwi, the executive mayor of Sol Plaatje Municipality, Patrick Mabilo, and the MMC - community services and social development, Leon Farland. Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE NORTHERN Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nocci) and businesses in Kimberley’s central business district have welcomed the involvement of the Sol Plaatje executive mayor, Patrick Mabilo, in the CBD.

It was reported recently that Mabilo had taken charge of the city’s CBD area, meeting formal and informal traders in an attempt to crack down on crime and illegal dumping.

Mabilo met traders recently at the Kimberley City Hall in order to forge a partnership to improve sustainable local economies and maintain a clean city.

“This is the best news we have received for years,” Nocci president Marie Parsons said on Friday.

She added that since 1986, Nocci had a representative for the CBD on the monthly liaison committee meetings of Sol Plaatje Municipality. “Unfortunately, two years ago these meetings were stopped.”

Parsons pointed out that the only reason why the CBD had become a “dirty, atrocious and unsafe area for shoppers” was because the by-laws and legislation to control illegal trading on the pavements and loud music being played on the streets were seldom carried out and implemented.

“We acknowledge that the sweepers in the CBD do a fantastic job by sweeping the CBD in the morning and late afternoon. Early in the morning the CBD is litter free.”

She stated further that while the CBD was still the largest business area in Kimberley, as a result of the lack of control many businesses, lawyers, accountants, banks and retailers had been forced to relocate.

“The by-laws, passed to control informal trading and crime in the CBD, are seldom implemented. Nocci, as the voice of business, was able to come to only one conclusion, namely that the authorities have no interest in what is still the largest business area in Kimberley, the economy or assisting to sustain businesses and avoid any job losses.”

She pointed out further that the value of property in the CBD had declined and business had, for many years, been under great pressure to maintain their marketplace and customer base.

“The goose that lays the golden egg, contributing millions of rand each month in rates and taxes, was ignored and business had to take the brunt.

“A group of 22 property owners have met and, although they have been warned that their services will be discontinued, have decided that the time has come to put our golden eggs in our own basket. We have decided that we can no longer wait and demand that Sol Plaatje takes the plight of businesses, not only in the CBD, but throughout the city seriously. Business is prepared to take the consequences should it ever become necessary to take such a step.”

Parsons added that she read in the media that productive discussions were held between the mayor and businesses. “It is most disappointing that Nocci was not invited to attend. I believe there is no organisation that has more information and documents pertaining to the CBD than Nocci.”

Nocci meanwhile urged all businesses to support its ‘Adopt a Pavement’ project launched two years ago, which is aimed at encouraging business owners to keep their pavement areas clean and litter free.

“We are also in the process of appealing to business to assist us in placing bins, as the 25 bins Nocci placed four years ago have all been vandalised.”

Parsons also appealed to the Department of Social Services to assist with the people sleeping in the entrances of business properties. “This has become totally unacceptable for business and the public and it is very unhygienic.”

She further urged the police commissioner to produce a plan of action to take drastic steps to curb crime in the city centre.

“Serious discussions to replace all the cameras in the CBD is of utmost importance.”