Houghton trading raises ire

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ST metro caravan Supplied Hawkers are setting up shop in Houghton, where construction work has increased. While the trading is legal, residents say an unsightly food caravan on the corner of 8th Street and 11th Avenue isnt being moved at night  and tables and chairs are being set up around it.

HOUGHTON residents have expressed their dismay at the number of hawkers popping up in their area because of massive construction going on.

Of particular concern is a food caravan, on the corner of 8th Street and 11th Avenue, which is slowly expanding its operations.

The caravan is supposed to be moved every night, according to city by-laws, but it isn’t.

It also does not have a vehicle registration number.

Residents have described it as “unsightly” and probably unhygienic, and claim that tables are being put out on the pavement around it as well.

Hawkers are also popping up all over on street corners.

Ward councillor Marcelle Ravid said the owner of the caravan has a permit and a health certificate to operate, but is supposed to move the caravan away every night, which is not happening.

“I have contacted the metro police… but the hawker does have the necessary permits,” she said.

“According to JMPD, if the hawkers take the caravan away every evening and bring it back for trading during the day, it is not illegal.

“The pavement is more than 4m wide, it is not outside any prohibited building and as long as they comply with health regulations, it is quite legal. They are only allowed gas canisters not larger than 9kg and they do have larger ones than that – that could be a problem. I did stop them from braaiing on the pavement, because Houghton residents may not want it – but it is not illegal. Residents can lodge an objection in writing if they want to,” she said.

Resident Jovan Andjelopolj said he had no gripe with anyone trying to make a living, but the situation was deteriorating every day.

“Food is being served to the public and there are gas bottles and we wonder if these are legal. Because of the construction, people are seeing opportunities and while that is commendable, there are certain standards to be maintained in this area.

“It appears that all one needs is a simple permit and one can trade wherever one wants in the city, and the suburbs get messier and messier,” he said.

The JMPD confirmed that the caravan hawker had a permit, but would check whether the caravan was being moved at night.

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