Judgment reserved in traders' application

2013-11-27 08:32
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Traders protest outside Jhb court

Scores of informal traders have been protesting outside the South Gauteng High Court where their applications against the removal of their stalls will be heard.

Johannesburg - Judgment in urgent applications by two groups of informal traders was reserved on Tuesday by the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, Santra said.

The SA National Traders' Retail Association (Santra) and the SA Informal Traders' Forum (SAITF) are seeking to interdict the City of Johannesburg and its metro police from removing informal traders from the streets.

Santra's application was earlier stood down until 11:30.

Just after 11:30, Judge Ramarumo Monama said he would hear both the applications after lunch.

"After five hours of argument in the Johannesburg urgent court, which sat until 19:00, with thousands of displaced CBD traders causing Pritchard Street, outside the High Court to be blocked off to traffic the court reserved judgment on the urgency of the matter," Santra spokesperson Edmund Elias said.

"The judge did comment that the city, as an organ of state, appeared to act illegally when evicting the traders. He also indicated that the matter must be resolved speedily," he said.

The groups want to stop the city from demolishing any more stalls, and want traders to be allowed to resume their work in their previously allocated areas.

'Extremely urgent'

Earlier, Michal Johnson, for Santra, said the city, in its answering affidavit, had called for the matter to be placed on the ordinary court roll.

"[But] it is extremely urgent," she said outside court. "People are living day to day without food to eat."

If the city succeeded, the matter might be heard only next year, she said.

Santra filed a replying affidavit to reassert the urgency of its matter.

Monama was expected to consider the urgency of the applications and whether they should be consolidated, for which the city has argued.

He was also expected to consider an application from an intervening party in the matter.

The applications were brought after the city started registering all traders on the streets. This was because of discrepancies between the allocated stalls on the city's database and the number of stalls counted on the streets.

The city found that several traders were being allocated smaller areas, creating overcrowding. In addition, some stands were being illegally traded and leased.

Earlier, informal traders and their supporters sang and danced in front of the court's main entrance while they waited for the court's decision.

Read more on:    city of johannesburg  |  johannesburg  |  local government

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