Access denied on weekends at the Nelson Mandela statue in the Union building, visitors, traders and photographers are not pleased with the new ‘’Rule’’. Those who make a living in the public sector have expressed disappointment with the choice made in response to a “public threat.

“Thami Mchunu the spokesperson at the Department of public works and infrastructure stated that they were forced to close the area on weekends and public holidays due to public outcry and the Tshwane Tourism Industry. “Yes, we can confirm that due to security concerns, the public space at the Union Buildings surrounding former President Nelson Mandela’s statue has been blocked to the general public on weekends and public holidays’’.

This news, on the other hand, has not gone over well with the street vendors and photographers who make their living by providing services to tourists, particularly on Saturdays and Sundays, which are the busiest days of the week.

Informal trader Lerato Tsotetsi who sells fruits, snacks and soft drinks expressed her disappointment to the sudden change of events as she has been selling for years now and she makes more money on weekends and on the holidays because that is when people have time to visit the place with their families.

 “It is a very sad case for us vendors because we feel that the silver spoon has been taken off our mouths, what is to happen to us during the weekend where business blooms, how are we going to survive this with unemployment rate still on the rise. I will not lie I am very disappointed.”

Complaints have been laid when people first noticed that the area has securities and it is fenced on weekends but on weekdays none of those things are there, it started of as something that will be resolved but it seems it is the new norm. The tourism industry was not informed that the public area would be fenced off on weekends, according to Nico Rowan, the chairperson of the Tshwane Tourism Association.

By: Palesa maneli.

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