Joburg hawkers hit back

2013-11-08 17:35

The hawkers displaced by the City of Johannesburg are demanding that council officials stop demolishing their trading stalls or face legal action.

Lawyers representing the hawkers today sent a letter to city officials demanding that they stop demolishing the stalls by Monday and that they provide detailed information about the city’s plan to relocate the hawkers. Among others, the letter also demands that city authorities:

» Provide reasons for the demolition of the stalls;

» Reveal the identity of the person who decided that the stalls be removed, the bylaw on which the decision is based, the date on which the decision was taken;

» Whether officials plan to destroy more stalls;

» Whether officials consulted with the affected hawkers; and

» Whether consideration was given to the impact the destruction of the stalls will have on the hawkers.

Early last month the municipality launched “operation clean sweep” which saw more than 6 000 legal and illegal informal traders being displaced from the city centre.

Johannesburg Metro Police Department spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said “the operation seeks to create not only a habitable and safe environment, but a place that encourages growth and development for all its citizens”.

The operation, he said, will address illegal trading, dumping, illegal electricity connections, drugs, crime, littering, illegal land and building invasion.

Read: Cop response time down by 13 mins ‘thanks to Joburg clean sweep’

The city, he said, is currently verifying legal traders. “We will accommodate them in trading nodes. I can’t tell you when but it’s what we are going to do”, he said, adding that since the beginning of the operation there has been a noticeable decline in crimes such as smash-and-grabs and common robbery.

The hawkers have demanded a response by next Wednesday.

The operation, said Minnaar, will be extended to every street of the city until it is squeaky clean. He said he had not received the letter from the hawkers’ lawyers.

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