Justice delayed for hawkers

TEN months after Sowetan published a story exposing five metro police officers allegedly taking bribes from hawkers, the victims are still to see justice done.

TEN months after Sowetan published a story exposing five metro police officers allegedly taking bribes from hawkers, the victims are still to see justice done.

The latest is that the matter might only be resolved next week.

Last September three hawkers handed video footage to Sowetan on which they had recorded the metro police officers harassing them and taking bribes. A copy of the recorded video was handed to metro police management.

At the time metro police spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said the officers shown in the video were suspended with immediate effect.

Yesterday Minnaar changed his tune, saying the officers were not suspended but transferred.

"The officers were transferred from Soweto to Johannesburg."

But again yesterday Minnaar corrected himself by saying the officers were first suspended and later transferred from Soweto.

In the meantime the victims say they feel that justice has let them down. They claim that metro police officers continue to harass them.

Minnaar said yesterday that investigations into a case of corruption against the officers had been ongoing and that they expected a conclusion next week.

The hawkers, who operated from outside Jabulani Mall, had been enraged by metro police's conduct and bought a video recorder and cellphone to capture their practice.

Conversations between the hawkers and the metro police are overheard as they arrange how the latter will collect money for the illegal release of the goods impounded during the raids.

In one scene the first hawker, who sells baby formula, disposable nappies and toilet rolls, arranges with the officer to pay R300 to have his goods returned. The senior officer refers him to a man in charge of the holding storage in Dube.

In another scene a vendor is shown paying R500 for the release of his public phone container. In both instances, the goods are released through the back door.

In a third scene a hawker, who trades in CDs and DVDs, talks to an officer to deliver the material to him.

The officer allegedly confiscates the CDs and DVDs from illegal vendors during raids in the city centre and sells them to vendors in Soweto.

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