Full stop for tuck shop

Pictured at the back, from left, are Oswald Easton, his wife Renay and their daughter Tarryn. In front is Raydin, 11. Not pictured is eight-year-old Jayla, their granddaughter, who also lives with them.

A Colorado Park tuck shop owner disputes being told by the mayor’s office that she has to close shop.

Renay Easton and her family have been living in Ceasars Close for more than 27 years and since November last year they have been living off the profits of her tuck shop.

This after their kombi, used to transport pupils – their main source of income – broke down.

Ms Easton had applied to open the shop in March last year and four months later she was granted approval, subject to possible objections from neighbours.

“I bought some goods piecemeal because I did not have the money and I applied early in the year to ensure I have all my ducks in a row,” she said.

Ms Easton said two years ago, she had a Pakistani tenant, who had run a shop but there was no illegal activity, contrary to what her neighbours accused him of. The tenant also had permission to trade in 2016.

“They said he was selling drugs here and that he was living and selling goods from the same room,” she said.

She said based on those complaints, she ensured that all her documentation were in place.

“I also swallowed my pride and went to speak to my neighbours who had objected to the tuck shop opening again. I addressed their concerns, went to the monthly ratepayers’ meetings but to no avail,” she said

“In the last week of October I felt confident to open my shop,” she said.

In a letter dated April 2018, neighbours Aubrey and Blenda Petersen wrote to the the City of Cape Town in objection to the shop: “In October 16 I received notification from the City re: application for permission to have this same tuck shop, this same application appealed due to the shop having been in operation since May 2106, and the amount of trouble it brought us as the direct neighbours to the tuck shop. That is the sweet papers, crisp packets, cigarette buds, the noise created by the children and cars (sic) who frequent the shop,” wrote Mr Petersen.

He claimed that they were also unemployed but would not take on something, which would disrupt the peace and tranquillity of their neighbourhood.

The Municipal Planning Tribunal took this and two other objections from DA Proportional Representative (PR) councillor Washiela Harris, who lives two doors away and Joan Woodman, councillor for Ward 75.

The tribunal took the following into account – that the tuck shop is located close to the Weltevreden Parkway shopping centre; the shop is in a cul-de-sac, strong community objections, which relate mainly to the conduct of the applicant; and circumstances for accommodating the operator were not contained in the application.

On Thursday March 14, Ms Easton and community worker and chairperson of Agents for Change, April Engelbrecht, handed a petition with 500 signatures in support of the tuck shop to mayor Dan Plato and said that the shopping centre had been closed for many months.

Mr Plato had been attending a lunch at Colorado Park community centre at the time.

“We just wanted to make him aware of Ms Easton’s situation,” Mr Engelbrecht said.

Lyndon Khan, spokesman for Mr Plato, said the Mayoral Appeal Committee upheld the appeal.

The Municipal Planning Tribunal (MPT), a panel of officials and professionals who decide on land use applications, supported the application for the house.

He said the applicant and the objectors were informed and an appeal against the decision was received.

Mr Khan said the decision was communicated to all parties via registered post as per the final notification, but Ms Easton had failed to collect the final notification and continued operating the house shop.

Reports were referred from the district offices to this tribunal, who made a determination.

This decision was then communicated to the applicant and the objectors and in terms of the Municipal Planning By-law, the decision may be appealed.

“In this case, the Mayoral Appeal Committee (Appeal Authority) reversed the MPT’s decision,” he said.

Mr Khan said the application for the house shop was concluded and the final decision made. The applicant cannot submit a similar application within six-months of the final notification issued on November 14.

“There have been two enquiries on the decision made and it was answered in February. A telephone call was also made to the applicant, Ms Easton, where everything was explained to her. The information has not changed,” he said.

Yesterday, Tuesday March 26 ,Ms Easton told the Plainsman that the City and the mayor’s office did not call her to inform her that she had to close up shop. She said she could not say what they would do to generate an income without the tuck shop.