The Joburg Property Company (JPC) has increased its focus on the development of informal markets that help stimulate entrepreneurship for small business owners.
The municipal entity has completed the revitalisation of the Metro Mall, which incorporates formal and informal stalls. The street mall at the intersection of Gwigwi Mrwebi and Pixley ka Isaka Streets in the Inner City will benefit informal traders who operate from the Metro Mall Taxi Rank Block B and C, in the Johannesburg Inner City.
A municipal initiative in association with the Inner City Partnership Forum, the Metro Mall is a unique model that uses old Metro Rail carriages to build trading stalls. It is a business incubator for small township businesses to sell their products and services.
Lungelo Ramatselela, the Project Manager says the JPC is central in ensuring municipal facilities like the Metro Mall are utilised to assist formal and informal traders to showcase their product offerings and services.
Ramatselela says the decision to upgrade the facility is guided by the need to provide access to adequate trading stalls and ensure they are compliant with health and safety regulations. The area has been subdivided into 65 cooking stalls with a dining area.
“On the East Wing project there are 56 cooking stalls, 9 of the stalls have hand washbasins and there are 20 toilets available for the facilities. The scope of work entailed brickwork and plastering, plumbing, repairing dining tables and benches, new kitchen fixtures and equipment, gas installation and steelwork,” he explains.
One of the traders, Sophie Mazibuko, sells fat cakes (Magwinya) in the morning and traditional local cuisine at lunchtime. Mazibuko says the revamped Metro Mall is a timely boost for local businesses as it now attracts tourists because of its cleanliness.
“As the whole world is struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic, I feel as traders we were most affected. We had to observe the lockdown regulations as everyone else and leave our businesses and we couldn’t provide for our families,” she says.
Mazibuko notes that the newly refurbished street mall used to be overcrowded, with no demarcated trading space for traders. This was a huge concern for safety and cleanliness.
She applauds the City for sprucing up the place and says it is now abuzz with traders. “Business is booming, thanks to the City of Joburg, a World Class African City.”
Written by Luyanda Lunika