Heated debate over market

Game relaxing in the shade at the nature reserve.
Game relaxing in the shade at the nature reserve.

Stephané Bothma

The surprise decision by Tshwane metro to pull the plug on the craft fair in Moreleta Kloof nature reserve has pitted neighbour against neighbour, nature lover against businessman and organisers against the media.

Social media, Rekord’s email service and telephone lines have been burning up with insults, defamatory comments, bitter recriminations, accusations but also grateful praise since the news broke that the metro had withdrawn permission for the 130-stall arts and craft market until such time as the issue had been fully investigated.

It is believed the metro had obtained legal opinion before announcing the discontinuation of the market.

The market was not held on Sunday.

Some of the emails received included:

“As a resident, I wish to advise that, any complaints received regarding the arts and crafts market at Rademeyers are not representative of all surrounding residents. As a Rutgers Street resident, I have paid a prime price for my property and part of that price is attributed to the view and availability of natural beauty visible from across the road.

“I understand that in times when the economy is under pressure, any initiative by Rademeyers to make some money and to ensure the longevity of the facilities should be encouraged. If one looks at Moreleta Park, there is clearly a need for places such as Rademeyers where healthy outside events can be staged,” wrote Ian Ross. This letter was shortened.

Patricia Roos, an exhibitor at the market wrote: “I would like to petition against the closing of the Moreleta market at Rademeyers in Moreleta Kloof.

“The closing of this market is devastating to us as vendors.

“What kind of person complains about people trying to make a few rand just to survive? Do they think we are working so hard simply for our pleasure?

“Maybe these people will feel better if the property is rather used for low-income housing.”

Helen Charalambous, who is against the market, wrote: “I am an avid nature lover and enjoy the many quiet walks I have had in the reserve. A bird-haven and look-out points have been established for bird-watchers.

“Wheelchair friendly paths have been created.

“The fauna and paths are always maintained and the well-being of the surrounds and the animals are cared for, to provide many individuals the opportunity to escape the stress and worries of everyday life.

“A flea market is too busy for the animals which are used to roaming freely. It is after all, their reserve and we are there to share it with them.”

Referring to a photograph of ostriches running among vehicles at the market, she said: “There just has to be one incident where an ostrich attacks someone, then all hell breaks loose and the animal will be the culprit.”

Alet Bredenkamp wrote: “Last week’s photo shows clearly why (the market ) is a bad idea. The ostriches walking in between the cars will lead to an accident sooner than later and either a child or an animal will be hurt.

“Where must the poor animals go when the park is overrun by cars? It is not a large area. I refute the silly argument in last week’s Rekord that the animals must go and hide in the corners of the reserve.

“This week’s arguments are no better. R2 000 per month can hardly make up for the intrusion and danger the market poses to an environmentally sensitive area. All the other benefits listed in this week’s report can be enjoyed on any other piece of open land in Moreleta. Why destroy the only indigenous valley in the neighbourhood?

“Wild animals are dangerous. It is not wise to host a flea market in the midst of them. People walking on nature trails are aware of the animals and treat them with respect. This is not the case when people are shopping in what boils down to an open-air shopping mall. ”

Due to space constraints not all letters could be published.

Also read: 

Metro pulls plug on market in the reserve

Market owners fight back

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