Fresh produce hawkers have lodged an urgent application in the Western Cape High Court to stop the City of Cape Town’s law enforcement officials from demolishing several structures they trade from in Mitchells Plain in terms of a by-law relating to streets, public places and the prevention of noise nuisance.
It is the city’s stance that the structures were erected without consent.
And while the notices were served to traders in that area only, traders from other parts of the province fear the city will take action on them too, says attorney Rooshdeen Rudolph.
They formed the Western Cape Fresh Produce Crisis Committee and, according to Rudolph, its membership is growing after news of the city’s action spread in the informal trader industry.
Rudolph said two structures have already been demolished.
In an affidavit before the court, committee vice-chairman Zihad Bam said Rudolph wrote to the city on behalf of the committee to ask it to give the traders 14 days to make written submissions regarding the issue.
However, no response was received, prompting the committee to lodge an urgent application in the High Court.
Bam said it would not prejudice the city to wait for another 14 days, “especially if regard is had to the fact that (the committee’s) members have been trading in the manner they have for years without causing any harm to the environment or the community”.
“To date there has not been a single incident reported to the SA Police Service to suggest that the members of the applicant committee are causing a threat or disturbance in the area,” he said.
The case was supposed to be heard on Friday but did not proceed because the parties involved were negotiating a settlement.