Murder case opened after hawker shooting in Tshwane

By Drum Digital
10 January 2014

A case of murder is being investigated after a fruit and vegetable vendor was shot and killed in a confrontation with police.

A case of murder is being investigated after a fruit and vegetable vendor was shot and killed in a confrontation with police, Pretoria police said on Friday.

Captain Agnes Huma said the Tshwane metro police alleged they were under attack from the informal traders on Wednesday during an operation to confiscate fruit sold on the street.

"They allege that they tried to seize fruit from the hawkers and they [the hawkers] attacked the metro police by throwing stones.

"The officers fired some shots at the crowd. A man was hit by a bullet in the upper body," she said.

"A case of murder was opened for investigation. Four suspects [hawkers] were arrested for malicious damage to property and public violence."

The four were scheduled to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Friday.

Huma could not say whether anyone had yet been arrested in connection with the hawker's death.

The Tshwane Traders Forum disputed the metro police's version of events.

Chairman Shoes Maloka said the police raid turned ugly when vendors insisted on being issued with fines and a ticket to prove that their stock had been confiscated.

"The traders simply wanted to be given tickets which would enable them to pay the fines and get their goods back as the by-laws say. The police officers then called for back-up and many Tshwane vehicles arrived with officers cocking their guns.

"They say the traders are undermining the police. They started shooting at [the vendor]; one bullet shot him and another missed him. They called an ambulance after several hours," claimed Maloka.

He said four vendors who intervened, demanding that the police call an ambulance, were arrested for interfering.

"They beat many hawkers around the area. Four were arrested. Today [Friday] we are still trying to have our members released. We have information that they won't be released since there is a murder involved.

"But the officer who shot the trader is still free. We don't know why this is happening," said Maloka.

More than 100 traders, supported by people in different political parties' regalia, protested outside the Pretoria Magistrate's Court where the four traders were set to appear.

Some waved placards denouncing Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa and the African National Congress.

One of the placards read: "Ramokgopa now betraying us. Let's move on." Another read: "ANC cannot help us. We are fed up."

Dressed in party regalia, Economic Freedom Fighters member Jack Mothiba said the policeman should be arrested.

"Those hawkers should be released now. The City of Tshwane should make all the arrangements for the burial of the deceased vendor.

"They are not stealing from anyone, they are trying to make an honest living." - Sapa

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