Tshwane traders demand answers

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PN Informal traders march8

PRETORIA NEWS

Tshwane informal traders trashing the inner city streets during their march to the municipal office. They are unhappy about alleged harrasement by the Tshwane Metro Police officers. Picture: Phill Magakoe

Pretoria - Members of the Tshwane Barekisi Forum demanded answers from the municipality after they handed over a memorandum of grievances in Pretoria on Tuesday.

“Barekisi (traders), the response we are getting is that we can get our answers in seven days. We do not want that. We want our answers tomorrow,” the forum's chairman Shoes Maloka said to cheers.

He earlier led hundreds of sjambok-wielding protesters through the city centre.

Tshwane MMC for economic development Subesh Pillay received the memorandum at the Tshwane metro municipality's head office, Isivuno House.

The traders want metro police to stop “stealing” their stock, and to act against an officer who shot dead one of their colleagues in January.

“MMC Subesh, talk to the people. Why are you afraid?” Maloka said.

Pillay said he was not afraid. He was shielded by several Tshwane metro police and SA Police Service officers as he addressed the crowd.

“You cannot expect us to respond tomorrow. Your memorandum doesn't say when you want the answer. What if I say we will respond next year?

“We have acknowledged receipt of your memo. I can't make that commitment of responding tomorrow,” Pillay said in a discussion with Maloka.

Pillay later told the crowd: “You have said in your own memorandum that you are disciplined and will not resort to anarchy. You can be sure that the issues you raised will be responded to in the next seven days.

“We have to go and speak to other departments before we respond,” Pillay said.

The vendors vowed to congregate at the municipal offices on Wednesday morning.

The forum's secretary Elliot Mcadimeng said several petitions had been sent to Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa to no avail.

“We sent a previous memo through his then personal assistant Georgia, who is now his wife. The metro police tell us that nothing will happen to them as long as Ramokgopa is in charge,” said Mcadimeng.

“We demand that they 1/8metro police 3/8 stop stealing our stock. We are still oppressed in Tshwane by Ramokgopa.”

The vendors also wanted Ramokgopa to act against an officer who shot dead trader Jan Foster Rivombo in the city in January.

“That officer is still on duty. He must face the law. We have opened a case with Ipid (Independent Police Investigative Directorate) but the killer is at work and enjoying himself,” said Mcadimeng.

Businesses were hurriedly closed as the protesters marched from Bosman station along Paul Kruger Street, leaving litter in their wake.

In January, the forum claimed that Rivombo, a vegetable seller, was shot dead for refusing to hand his stock to Tshwane metro police.

Dan Matlanyane, a convener at the forum, said Tuesday's protest was not sanctioned by the municipality.

“If we are going to be arrested, let it be,” said Matlanyane.

The hawkers threatened to make the city ungovernable if the Tshwane metro police did not stop harassing them.

The forum says it has more than 1000 licensed members in Pretoria.

Sapa


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