Twenty-eight female guards were unfairly dismissed by a security company because the client‚ Metrora.
More than 100 hawkers at Walter Sisulu Square in Kliptown, Soweto, say the Johannesburg Metro police are making their lives difficult.
Police raided the square last week and confiscated the hawkers' goods.
"Ruthless traffic officers took our stock to feed their families while ours are suffering," said Mamokoena Mokoena.
She said her stall was cleaned out by the officers.
"I have six children of school-going age. I don't brave the sun and rain because I want to, but I have mouths to feed," she said.
But Metro police said the hawkers were selling outside their designated areas.
Emile Baloyi said she was trying to make a living by selling at the square, but the police confiscated her goods.
"There are no jobs and this is how we make ends meet."
The mother-of-three said they could not find their goods when they later went to Metro offices to claim them.
Metro police spokesman Wayne Minnaar said: "The hawkers were informed two years ago that trading outside a designated area was a contravention of the law."
He said there was a building specifically designated for hawkers to trade from, but they refuse to use it.
The Traders Crisis Committee condemned the raid.
"We call for the immediate suspension of punitive measures such as the confiscation of hawkers' possessions and a review of all the 51 precincts and suburbs where street trading has been wrongfully and illegally banned," said chairman Reuben Nkadimeng.