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Pretoria - Pretoria hawkers travelling to the funeral of their colleague Foster Rivombo, who was allegedly killed by metro police officials, had to scramble to get a bus after waiting for hours for the transport they said they had been promised.
Members of the SA Informal Traders Forum gathered in the Pretoria city centre, as agreed, with members of the ANC Youth League on Saturday evening for the service that was held in Giyani on Sunday, but realised an hour later they had to find their own way to the funeral.
“We eventually went to Bosman Station, and negotiated for transport, and secured an Iveco by 11pm,” the association’s Brian Phaalo said. About 100 people were waiting to go, but because of the costs only 20 finally managed to go.
“We are extremely disappointed, but not really surprised,” Phaalo said. The R300 they had to pay per person had not been budgeted for. Most people had to turn back, despite all intentions to support the family. We feel let down,” he said.
He said ANC Tshwane branch member Lesego Makhubela had initially indicated, at about midday on Saturday, that he would pay for the promised bus out of his own pocket, because the youth league could not. But he then stopped taking calls, and did not explained why the bus did not arrive, Phaalo said.
Contacted by the Pretoria News, Lesego said he was in a meeting but later did not take calls or respond to text messages sent to him.
Rivombo was killed almost two weeks ago, allegedly by Tshwane metro police during a clean-up of the city’s streets. The 20-year-old street vendor was shot after a confrontation between hawkers and metro police during the first clean-up operation of the year.
He was one of eight children who grew up in Giyani in Limpopo and left high school in 2012 to trade in the city with his brother. No one in his family is formally employed. All his siblings are vendors.
The ANC Youth League jumped on the bandwagon when hawkers threatened to make the city ungovernable if the city failed to meet their demands.
It called and actively participated in a press briefing in the city early last week, when it criticised the ANC-led Tshwane Municipality for failing to take decisive action, after failing to arrest those responsible for the killing, who were still at work by the end of last week.
Together with hawker organisations it set out a number of demands, among them a call on the city to stop defending police officers who it claimed were not worthy of upholding the law.
It also demanded the city take full responsibility for the “murder”, with local ANCYL branch member Makhubela saying informal traders were continually under attack.
He noted that the hawkers would only have had bananas and other fruit to attack them with, but police responded with live ammunition.
The youth league attended a memorial service on Thursday, also attended by other political organisations like the Economic Freedom Fighters, Cope and the Workers and Socialist Party (Wasp). At that service Rivombo, the father of a 3-month-old baby, was hailed as someone who died trying to protect his dignity, and who tried to make a better living for himself and his family.