Metro Police Dept unaware of bribe claims

By Drum Digital
18 November 2013

The Johannesburg metro police department is unaware of allegations that some officers have been demanding bribes from inner city hawkers.

The Johannesburg metro police department is unaware of allegations that some officers have been demanding bribes from inner city hawkers, it said on Monday.

"There is internal affairs who investigates alleged corruption, if there is any such corruption," Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said.

"A formal complaint should be lodged so that it can be investigated."

The Workers and Socialist Party on Monday said metro officers were demanding bribes from the street traders.

"The Johannesburg metro police have been demanding bribes of R5000 a week from the street traders," party spokesman Weizmann Hamilton told hawkers marching in the Johannesburg CBD.

Minnaar said if there was any truth to the allegations those corrupt officers would be dismissed.

"The JMPD does not tolerate corruption," he said.

Hamilton said the JMPD had also been assaulting hawkers and confiscating their stock.

"The City of Johannesburg through the JMPD have detained some of the hawkers in the council offices, accusing them of being foreigners."

Minnaar said some hawkers ran away when officers approached them, leaving their goods behind.

"What the officers do is impound the goods. Under normal circumstances a receipt is given to the hawker, but when they run away there is no one to give the receipt to and therefore they need to go to the pound to retrieve those goods," he said.

The hawkers met in the Johannesburg CBD on Monday for a march to the mayor's office to hand over a memorandum. The city has been conducting a process to register all legal traders on the streets.

The process was started after it was found there were discrepancies between the allocated stalls on the city's database and the number of stalls that counted on the streets.

It was found that several traders were being allocated smaller areas, and that this was creating overcrowding. In addition some stands were being traded and leased illegally.

The process was initially meant to focus on seven streets, but it was later agreed to extend it to 17 streets.

The SA Informal Trader's Forum (SAITF) announced plans on Sunday to take the city to court over the removal of informal traders in the CBD. SAITF said the court action followed weeks of speaking to the city in order to find solutions to the evictions of traders.

SAITF said it participated in meetings with the city at which it was decided that a verification process be done at the beginning of November, with the relocation of traders from November 11.

The Workers and Socialist Party, SAITF, the One Voice Hawkers Association, and the African Traders Committee, would take legal action through the Socio-Economic Rights Institute.

They had already served letters of demand on Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau and various other officials, giving them until Monday to respond.

-by Sapa

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