Traders up in arms

Unlicensed traders at the disputed market in Warwick Triangle Junction, Durban, are fuming after the metro police confiscated their goods.

Unlicensed traders at the disputed market in Warwick Triangle Junction, Durban, are fuming after the metro police confiscated their goods.

This new development yesterday is despite ongoing negotiations between the eThekwini municipality and KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize's task team, which is trying to resolve a dispute over the continued use of the 100-year-old market site.

Informal traders have been at loggerheads with the municipality for more than four months over attempts to move them to another site.

The city wants to demolish the market and build a multi-million rand development, including a R400million mall.

But traders feel the mall won't serve their interests but instead destroy their livelihood.

The provincial task team is led by MEC for economic development and tourism Mike Mabuyakhulu and includes MEC for local government and traditional affairs Willies Mchunu and MEC for transport community safety and liaison Bheki Cele.

The traders' leadership reached an agreement with the task team that all unlicensed traders will be accommodated until the Durban high court makes a ruling on the matter tomorrow.

Traders leader Million Phehlukwayo said they are disappointed with the behaviour of the police, who had not heeded the call by the task team.

He said the Metro Police had been harassing their members while they were meeting Mabuyakhulu.

"We tried to get hold of the MEC and mayor Obed Mlaba to inform them of the acts of the police but they were not available."

The city's plan to demolish the market has angered many people, including academics who do not approve of the move.

Mabuyakhulu had said consultation will continue but the traders should uphold the law.

Phehlukwayo said they were puzzled by the actions of the police because they were still busy with negotiations.

"We do not expect the city to treat people so badly," Phehlukwayo said. "We were also told to meet at a management building for licenses, but all the process is being stalled by police. They defy our agreement with the official."

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