Homeless, traders to march in Pretoria

2012-07-16 15:40
Pretoria (<a href=\http://www.shutterstock.com\>Shuttertstock</a>)

Pretoria (Shuttertstock)

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Pretoria - Informal traders and evicted former residents of Schubart Park flats in Pretoria are to hold a series of protest marches in the city centre.

The first protest is scheduled for Thursday, Tshwane Hawkers Association chairperson Shoes Maloka said.

"We are going to have a meeting with the city stakeholders and the SA Police Services. The Tshwane metro has been refusing to grant us the permission to march," he said on Monday.

"Since January, we have not been able to make money through selling in the city. Remember most of us are breadwinners and we have many (financial) commitments," said Maloka.

Relocated to outskirts of city

He said the vendors were incensed because the city officials were relocating them from their usual stalls to new posts on the outskirts of the capital city.

"Many young people have now abandoned the honest business of selling. Some have resorted to crime while others spend days gambling around the city to eke [out] a living," said Maloka.

A multitude of informal traders was left infuriated in June after they learnt that Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa would not receive a memorandum of their demands.

The traders wanted to request Ramokgopa's intervention into their allegations of harassment by the city's metro police.

Evicted residents of the Schubart Park flats have pledged to support the hawkers in the mooted Thursday march.

Spokesperson for the Schubart Park Residents Committee, Mashao Chauke, said the former tenants have scheduled their protest march for July 26.

Security services insufficient

"We will be joined by other aggrieved Pretoria residents from Mamelodi and Sausville hostels and the informal traders associations," said Chauke.

He said security services provided by a company hired by the Tshwane metro to guard the Schubart Park flats were insufficient, as scrap metal dealers were stripping the structure.

The case of the occupation of the contentious block of flats will be heard in the Constitutional Court on August 23.

"We are looking at our own measures to beef up security, while we wait for the court outcome. The city, through its security company, is being negligent [with regards] to the building," said Chauke.

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