somalis anger vendors

Victor Hlungwane

Victor Hlungwane

Hundreds of angry Limpopo women street vendors marched through the Giyani streets this week and threatened to close all Somali shops.

The vendors accused Somali traders of selling cheap items and abusing women workers by paying them peanuts.

Margaret Chauke, leader of the hawkers, claimed that the businesses of local hawkers have been doing badly since the Somalis started occupying most of the stalls in the area.

"These people are selling their items at a very low cost," one street vendor, Tintswalo Mavasa, said.

"We don't get the profits we used to get before these people came here.

"We are not going to tolerate what these people are doing. We are going to fight until they pay our people decent salaries.

"Some people are getting as little as R300 a month and when they report cases to the Department of Labour they get thrown out because they bribe the officials."

Abdular Mohamed, one of the shop owners, denied the allegations and accused the hawkers of xenophobia.

"O ur people are being attacked all over the country," Mohamed said.

"We do not pay our employees peanuts. We are paying them what the South African law requires us to pay them and we are not abusing them.

"They are accusing us of selling at a low cost. Yes, that is true because we are in a free competitive market."

The Somalian shops remained closed yesterday pending a scheduled meeting.