Pretoria - Rogue police officers who harass informal traders will be flushed out of the system – not only in Pretoria, but across Gauteng.
MEC for Economic Development Lebogang Maile all but confirmed that claims about police harassing informal traders and stealing their stock were valid.
“We know there are bad elements and rotten potatoes in the policing system. Investigations will be conducted and such elements taken out of the service,” he said.
“There is a need to look at how best police can enforce street trading by-laws without appearing to be harassing the traders.”
Maile was in the capital city for a walkabout against the backdrop of discord in the informal sector.
He was accompanied by Tshwane’s member of the mayoral committee for economic development, Subesh Pillay, as well as officials from the municipality and the provincial government, including Eric Xayiya, special adviser on service delivery in the office of the premier.
The MEC used the opportunity to interact with informal traders on a range of problems facing the sector in Marabastad and other parts of the CBD.
The traders spoke to Maile about crime, lack of trading shelters and harassment by police. In response, he said closed-circuit cameras could be explored to monitor informal trading.
Maile, who conducted a similar walkabout in Joburg, said he would be going to all corners of the province to speak to informal traders.
What he found on the city streets was a fragmented sector with various representative organisations.
Maile said his department would engage with all of them to find solutions and ensure a speedy response to their problems.
These included crime, harassment, lack of shelters and trading licences, he said, pointing out the municipality was already working on addressing them.
“We value the contribution of informal traders to the economy. We want to help and work with informal traders to improve economic development,” he said
“We want to embark on one integrated approach to resolve the problems that informal traders are experiencing.”
Five organisations, including one not recognised by the council, represent informal traders in the city.
Tshwane Barekisi Forum, the unrecognised organisation, has been at loggerheads with metro police about harassment and confiscation of stock.