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Outcry over window washers’ arrests

A screengrab of the video by Clayton Robbertze, a MIX fm DJ, of a prank he played on a window washer.

A screengrab of the video by Clayton Robbertze, a MIX fm DJ, of a prank he played on a window washer.

Published Feb 17, 2015

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Johannesburg - The SA National Traders Retail Alliance (Santra) is up in arms about the police arresting more than 100 window washers, beggars and vendors operating at Joburg intersections.

The Lead SA-backed Operation Ke Molao (It’s the Law) was launched last week and has since resulted in at least 122 people being removed from the streets by the Joburg metro police department (JMPD).

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“The campaign against Joburg window washers, beggars and robot sellers requires immediate intervention and review. LeadSA, the DA and instigators of the campaign have blundered. A far more multidimensional plan to deal with these people is needed,” Santra spokesman Edmund Elias said.

He said the poor were being denied the opportunity to earn money “where the rich live, work and play in significant numbers”.

He added: “Present actions are not sustainable. LeadSA is well positioned to help facilitate and help to roll out a large-scale trading plan that would benefit all stakeholders.

“There is a need for a better balance between supply and demand of legal trading spaces in all areas that would enable many to continue making a living in an orderly manner.”

Elias believes that trading in all areas should reflect the demographics of our society, but JMPD spokesman Wayne Minnaar said those arrested were contravening the law.

“Operation Ke Molao was established to clear intersections and freeways of window washers, street traders, smash-and-grabbers, hijackers and all other offenders, including beggars.

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“So far, 122 have been removed. Illegal immigrants were processed by the Department of Home Affairs, beggars were taken to shelters, and vendors were charged for contravening the by-laws,” Minnaar said.

He said those charged were taken to Johannesburg Central police station and given the option of paying a R300 admission of guilt fine or go to court. Minnaar added the JMPD would not budge but would instead continue with the operation.

“The operation is ongoing. There will definitely be action taken against those who continue to break the law,” he said.

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Road users are continuing to take action against window washers. Clayton Robbertze, a MIX fm DJ, said people have been fighting back by scaring the washers off with rubber snakes, water guns and megaphones.

“The people are not happy with the windshield washers at the traffic lights, especially in Sandton, forcing the issue of washing your windscreen even if you don’t want them to. And if you don’t pay them, they dirty your window, spit on your car, kick your car or even break the wipers,” Robbertze said.

The radio jockey then went out and shot a video of a prank he played on a window washer.

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“Last week, I and my sidekick shot a video, which we called ‘Windshield Vipers, Episode 1’,” he said.

The video shows him surprising a washer by spraying water at him. At first the window washer is upset and retaliates with spraying soapy water on the windscreen. Soon they are spraying water at each other and the washer is laughing.

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