hawkers cry foul
Though hawkers in the Johannesburg CBD are crying foul after a chaotic Metro police clean-up raid in which goods were impounded on Friday, police say their operations will continue.
About 400 officers in 26 vans, 26 buses and 6 trucks raided various parts of the city, particularly the congested De Villiers and Wanderers streets precinct.
The police confiscated hundreds of bags full of clothes, shoes, food and other merchandise from hawkers as they were peddling on the streets.
Some hawkers tried to salvage some stock and tried to escape from the police but were caught.
"Our aim is to stop people from illegally trading on the streets, especially the cooking on the pavements," said Johannesburg Metro police spokesman Superintendent Wayne Minnaar.
Minnaar said hawkers who sold perishable goods were required to pay a R500 penalty and those with non-perishables an amount of R1000.
Martha Nkomo, a hawker, said: "This is unfair. I have to feed six children with the money I make from cooking here, and how am I supposed to pay rent when my stock has been taken?"
Another hawker, Rosina Mphahlele, said: "I'm raising two children with this money, I don't know what these people want us to do because there are no jobs.
"Do they want us to go out there and do crime?"