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Pretoria - There was a long stand-off between police and informal traders in front of municipal offices in the Pretoria city centre on Monday afternoon regarding the recipient of a petition from Barekisi Forum.
The members of the organisation wanted mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa or his Economic Development MMC Subesh Pillay to receive their memorandum, but police insisted neither of them was available.
Pillay eventually received the memorandum, but the informal traders indicated they would return the following day to ensure the city responded to the memorandum.
Pretoria streets came to a standstill as the informal traders marched to the offices of the City of Tshwane near the intersection of Lillian Ngoyi and Madiba streets.
They hurled insults at and sang songs against what they called as poor leadership of both Ramokgopa and Community Safety MMC Terrence Mashego and called for their resignation.
The marchers described Ramokgopa as a tsotsi who did not care about the lives of the poor.
The streets resembled a dumping area as the marchers emptied refuse bags and rubbish bins along the way.
Shop owners fearing possible looting closed their shops while office workers and flats dwellers watched proceedings through the windows and from balconies.
The fear for looting became a reality when a group of teenagers helped themselves to several items from a shop selling electronic equipment on Francis Baard Street.
The informal traders said metro police were thieves and murderous, referring to the fatal shooting of an informal trader Foster Rivombo, allegedly at the hands of metro police, in January. Investigation into the incident is still ongoing.
They accused the City of Tshwane of working with democratically-elected structures instead chose to align itself with “ghost organisations”.
The informal traders demanded that metro police stopped stealing their stock and late trader's killer must face the law.
City of Tshwane spokesman Blessing Manale said Barekisi failed to provide basic information like constitution, members list, certificate of incorporation as an and was thus not recognised by the municipality.
Manale said the call for Ramokgopa and Mashego to resign was an unfounded and misplaced not informed by any reason.