Cops vow more raids on jammed city street

2012-02-02 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG police have vowed there will be more clean-up operations in the city’s most congested road, Pieterma­ritz Street, to ease traffic flow.

This follows yet another operation to snuff out illegal activity along the street yesterday, which was attended by acting national Police Commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi.

Heavily armed members of the SA Police Service and Msunduzi traffic officers conducted the joint operation.

A similar operation took place in the area last Friday, said police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan.

Sources told The Witness during the operation that Mkhwanazi had complained of almost an hour-long drive through Pietermaritz Street because of congestion.

They claimed that the police chief’s complaints had prompted the raid, but Jeevan denied this.

The operation saw more than 30 police vehicles descend on ­Pietermaritz Street.

The stretch between Retief and Boshoff streets was closed to traffic as police and traffic officers combed the area for illegal activities.

Jeevan said four summonses were issued to illegal traders and a vehicle was towed away and impounded for parking illegally.

Sidewalk vendors were observed packing their wares and fleeing as police vehicles converged on the busy street.

Jeevan said police were enforcing traffic laws and municipal by-laws and that similar operations will soon be conducted in the area and elsewhere in the central business district to ensure compliance.

“We have taken note of the congestion in the street caused by, among other things, illegal hawkers and businesspeople who display their goods along pedestrian areas, as well as illegal parking of vehicles,” Jeevan said.

While motorists were delighted with the police operation, as there was free flow of traffic, some hawkers complained that police were harassing them regularly.

“Some of us have licences, but the municipality is doing nothing to provide us with trading shelters, hence our trading area is so chaotic,” one hawker complained.

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