The Johannesburg metro police have been demanding bribes from inner-city hawkers, the Workers and Socialist Party has said. “The Johannesburg metro police have been demanding bribes of R5 000 a week from the street traders,” party spokesperson Weizmann Hamilton told hawkers marching in the Johannesburg CBD today. He said the metro police had been assaulting hawkers and confiscating their stock. “The City of Johannesburg through the metro police have detained some of the hawkers in the council offices, accusing them of being foreigners.” The hawkers met in the Johannesburg CBD to march to the mayor’s office to hand over a memorandum of agreement. The city has been conducting a process to register all legal traders on the streets. The process was started after it was found that there were discrepancies between the allocated stalls on the city’s database and the number of stalls that were observed. It was found that several traders were being allocated smaller areas and that this was creating overcrowding. It was also found that 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 Traders’ Forum (SAITF) announced plans on Sunday to take the city to court over the removal of informal traders in the CBD. The SAITF said the court action followed weeks of speaking to the city in order to find solutions to the evictions of traders. The 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, the 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 today to respond.