A file picture of Informal traders reacting after their stalls had been torn down. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Pretoria - Legal representatives for the stranded informal traders from Denneboom station in Mamelodi are pushing ahead with their bid to see mayor Solly Msimanga and city manager Moeketsi Mosola behind bars for at least 120 days for failure to comply with a court order.

They believe the City had a part in elbowing them out of business in Denneboom during construction of the Tshwane Regional Mall, valued at R1.3billion.

On Monday, advocate Adrian Vorster pleaded with the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, that while a prima case could be argued against the municipality in failing to comply with an earlier order, officials such as Msimanga and Mosola could not be held liable.

Vorster said this was particularly so because they had only been added to the matter earlier that day and were not part of the initial order.

As such, he requested that the matter against the officials be dismissed with costs.

However, SC Anna-Marie de Vos, acting on behalf of the traders, told the court the parties had failed in their oversight duties.

De Vos said it was not necessary for Msimanga to have held the hammer that dismantled the sites from which the traders operated, but it was his duty to ensure the City manager enforced court orders appropriately.

Lawyers for Human Rights are taking legal action against the City of Tshwane and Isibonelo Property Services, the company in charge of the development, for failure to honour the February 10 court order granted in favour of 287 informal traders.

The order stipulated that they were to provide informal traders with containers to ply their trade.

Both parties were to provide containers for traders occupying fixed structures, provide space for those occupying informal stalls and ensure proper ablution facilities, including communal water and electricity.

Instead, an ongoing fight has ensued as traders allege the City and Isibonelo Property Services failed to implement the order from February to September, but demolished stalls, some of which the traders had been occupying since 1960.

And it is for this reason the urgent application seeks to hold the officials in contempt of the court order and wants compensation for the demolition of the stalls, loss of stock and violation of human rights.

The stalls were demolished by a company owned by Isibonelo Property Services. The demolition was to make way for the expansion of construction at a site where the vendors traded.

Furthermore, traders previously lamented the provisions made by the City, stating that only 40 containers were provided, while there were more than 200 traders in Denneboom.

The matter is set to continue today.

Pretoria News