Small businesses forced to shut down

Table Mountain. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Eyewitness News has learnt that the vacancy rate for office and retail space in the Cape Town central business district (CBD) is nearing 11 percent.

That is close to the all-time high figure of 14 percent in 1995, and 12 percent in 2003.

Small businesses are amongst the hardest hit.

More and more small businesses are being forced to shut down by a combination of the global recession and high monthly rentals.

Central City Improvement Business District chairperson Rob Kane said it is not a pretty a sight.

“We’re probably in the toughest times that we’ve seen as business in the last 60 years.”

“Historically, maybe landlords have been a little bit greedy in the rentals that they are charging.”

Director at Baker Street Properties Dave Russell said the recession also means landlords have to relook their greed and go softer on their tenants.