Vendor death fury

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Pretoria - The ANC in Tshwane has criticised the ANC-led Tshwane Municipality for failing to take decisive action following the death of 20-year-old street vendor Foster Rivambo allegedly at the hands of Tshwane Metro Police officers.

One week after Rivambo was killed on Bosman Street, the officers who allegedly killed him are still at work.

The City of Tshwane is unwilling to fire or suspend the officers and council spokesman Blessing Manale said they would remain in uniform until the SAPS arrested them.

Rivambo died during a metro police operation last Wednesday when police officers confiscated his goods and an altercation ensued.

“It would be very difficult for us to take any other decision before the South African Police Service has identified them as possible suspects in the matter.

That’s why we are cautious about taking any other decision that may have them relieved on their duties,” Manale said.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate has yet to positively identify which of the officers fired the fatal shot.

On Wednesday, during a memorial service for Rivambo held by the ANC Youth League, the Tshwane Barekisi Forum and the South African Informal Traders Forum, the youth league questioned why no action had been taken against the “evil acts” of the Tshwane Metro Police.

Approximately 150 informal traders attended the service and sang and danced in honour of their fallen comrade.

Many of the speakers praised Rivambo as someone “who died trying to protect his dignity and who tried to make a better living for himself and his family”.

Member of the mayoral committee for sport and recreation, Nozipho Makeke, attended the service on behalf of the ANC Tshwane region.

“It is indeed a moment of grief as we have lost one of our own.

“The loss of one life is one too many and we would like to apologise to Foster’s family,” she said.

Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa did not attend the service.

Rivambo 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.

He would have turned 21 in July and leaves behind a three-month-old son.

No one in his family is formally employed and Rivambo’s older brother Maurice said all his siblings were vendors.

Inaction by the City of Tshwane has led to the hawkers’ leadership calling on the 2.8 million hawkers in the country to mobilise and avenge Rivambo’s death.

“The blood of this young man must unite us,” said Obakeng Ramabodu, an informal trader.

Rivambo was likened to Andries Tatane who was killed by the police during a protest in Ficksburg, taxi driver Mido Macia who was dragged behind a police vehicle, and the miners who were killed by police officers at Marikana.

“Those who were supposed to give him opportunities in life and support him, murdered him while he was fighting poverty,” said Mametlwe Sebei, of the Workers and Socialist Party.

Meanwhile, the same hawkers on Wednesday vowed to show solidarity with four fellow hawkers who were arrested for public violence on the same day Rivambo was killed.

They will appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court tomorrow.

The hawkers plan to disrupt the city if the council does not meet their demand that the officers responsible for Rivambo’s death be arrested by tomorrow, and that the police stop “harassing” traders in the CBD.

Metro Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba said they would not deploy more officers than usual for the possible protest on Friday. “We are not aware of any application for a protest… (tomorrow). If there is an outburst of public violence the SAPS will respond and we will assist them if necessary,” he said.

The ANC has arranged a funeral for Rivambo in Giyani on Sunday.

lali.vanzuydam@inl.co.za

Pretoria News


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