EFF slams Herman Mashaba for citizen's arrest of man selling cow heads

The EFF has slammed Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba over the arrest of informal traders in that city.

"The EFF in Johannesburg is disappointed with the mayor's alien attitudes towards small entrepreneurs doing business in the city and strongly condemns the continued arrest of informal traders," the party said in a statement.

This follows a tweet by Mashaba on Monday in which he claimed he had made his first citizen's arrest, after a man was nabbed for pushing a trolley filled with around 20 cow heads through central Johannesburg.

"I have just personally stopped this illegally act in our city. How do we allow meat trading like this? I am waiting for @AsktheChiefJMPD to come and attend before we experience a breakdown of unknown diseases in our @CityofJoburgZA," he tweeted.

The move was met with mixed reaction on social media.

While some congratulated Mashaba for upholding food safety standards, others accused him of killing small businesses.

Twitter users pointed out that the practice of transporting and selling meat in this fashion had been going on for decades.

In response to complaints, Mashaba tweeted: "Black business is not about putting the health of our residents at risk...There is a huge difference between chaos and running business. Our country can ill afford the health breakdown of unknown diseases."

'Racist views'

"The EFF would like to condemn the mayor’s uninformed and strange views on the casual link between African trade and disease mutation."

The party said it suspected that this "medically illiterate posture" was "forced on him by a throng of white minders".

"We are saying this because it is inconceivable for a former informal trader who has on numerous occasions shared stories of being raised in harsh conditions by a domestic worker could grow such racist views which purport black people as uncivilised scavengers and carriers of deadly disease," according to the EFF's statement.

On Tuesday, social media users also called Mashaba out for being disrespectful when he added fears of Ebola to the mix.

One detractor tweeted: "Don't kill small businesses rather try to help those people. These people are trying to earn a living and must not be excluded from parti in the main stream economy, they need to be helped with issues of compliance [sic]."

'Health of our people first'

Mashaba tweeted back: "We are going to sit back and allow people like you to bring us Ebolas in the name of small business. Health of our people first. Our health facilities are already stretched to the limit (sic)."

The comment was slammed by some on Twitter, including Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos.

"If you: a) refer to 'people like you' (referring to foreigners) b) then equate being foreign to bringing ebola (equating foreign with disease) c) then talk about "our people first", in my book it is xenophobia. Steeped in prejudiced about and antagonism towards foreigners," De Vos tweeted.

The EFF called for the formalisation of informal trading through the creation of serviced informal trading zones and sites.

"The city should invest in infrastructure and incentives for these zones."

The party said it would be meeting with informal traders in Johannesburg to engage with them on its manifesto proposal and "jointly work on a strategy to deal with the Metro’s harassment".

"Mayor Mashaba must withdraw his grandstanding remarks and apologise to informal traders.'

 

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