Just a little while back I and a friend of mine were victims of police brutality. I personally was arrested whiles he was badly beaten but not arrested (don’t worry, we sued them). The only crime we committed was witnessing Tshwane metro police destroying street vendors’ stock and chasing them away from the streets.
I hear and agree that some of them do use their vegetables or other products to hide the real businesses they’re doing, which is selling drugs. But to assume that all are there for the same reason would be the same as saying all black people are criminals. It was people of different ages selling vegetables on the side of the road. The only busyness on that side was pedestrians walking up and down. The place was not as congested for anybody to worry about them causing traffic. I watched as the older women watch their way to make a living being destroyed whiles there was nothing they could do. I thought for a minute what feeling I would have if that was my mother trying to make a living for my family. It pained me deeply.
I do understand that some of them did not have the permits to sell on the side of the road, but is destroying their stock a better solution to the problem? Isn’t government pro entrepreneurship? Aren’t these types of businesses considered entrepreneurship? Shouldn’t we be looking for methods that solve and not create more problems? What do you expect these people to do when you destroy their stock and they have nothing left to provide for themselves and their families when you cannot supply enough jobs for people to make a living? We need smarter thinkers in government.
Understand me well, I’m not saying that government should allow anybody to be on the side of the road, but surely there are ways in which the government can meet the people half-way. How about making it easy for these people to be authorised, that is if the goal of the government is to help people make a living. Instead of coming with guns and vandalising their stock, how about bringing consultants with you with the necessary forms for these people to complete? Truth be told, these people cannot afford to leave their businesses and go stand in queues to be given attitude by SOME government officials the whole day and leave without getting the help they require. So if the intention is to solve problems, make it easy for everybody. Show that you are a government who truly cares about your people.
We need to find smarter ways to solving problems, chasing people around with sjamboks is a stone-age methodology. It is time for change!