traders cry foul

Penwell Dlamini

Penwell Dlamini

For the past three weeks hawkers outside Jabulani Mall in Soweto have endured police raids during which their goods have been impounded.

More than 10 hawkers trading in Bolani Street between the mall and Jabulani Amphitheatre say their lives have been made difficult by the Johannesburg Metro Police Department.

"The traffic officers came and took my stock, leaving me without anything to sell," said Thinavhuyo Mulovhedzi.

Mulovhedzi said the police did not ask whether she had a trading permit, but took her stock and gave her an impoundment notice and a R500 fine.

"I had a Cell-C phone container and the police took it, leaving me with an impoundment notice demanding I pay R1500, which I cannot afford," said Thembelani Mthandana.

"I have two children to support and now I cannot provide for them," said Mthandana.

Traders said for the last three weeks they had not been able to do business as they feared the raids.

Centre manager David Pooe said they were not responsible for the raids because the traders were outside the mall.

City of Johannesburg spokesman Virgil James said: "A policy was adopted in August last year, where traders were represented, and it was agreed that people should only trade within designated areas.

"The police are just doing their job."

He said hawkers could apply for trading permits at the Metropolitan Trading Company, which also provided free business training in partnership with Wits Business School.