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'Clashes' as traders go back to the streets

Lehlohonolo Tau and SAPA | 2013-12-06 01:55:16.0
Informal traders in the Johannesburg CBD.
Image by: Times Media

Just hours after their Constitutional Court victory yesterday, informal traders were back in the streets of Johannesburg where they, once again, reportedly clashed with the police.

The court ruled that the informal traders, who were removed from their trading posts by the City of Johannesburg recently as part of its "cleanup" campaign, should return to their stalls.

The city was also ordered not to interfere with the informal traders and to pay the costs of the application.

But Khuselwa Dyanthi, of the Socio-Economic Rights Institute, last night said the organisation's lawyer, Nomzamo Zondo, was arrested in the centre as informal traders were reopening their stalls.

The Times was unable to confirm this with the police at the time of going to press.

The hawkers were represented by the institute and SA National Traders and Retail Alliance.

In a statement yesterday, the city said it would do everything in its power to ensure the court order was implemented.

The statement added that the city would, however, continue to enforce its bylaws by ensuring that no illegal trading took place.

"Illegal trading brings with it a number of challenges wherever it takes place in the city. These include . congestion, crime, grime, littering and general breakdown of other services," said city spokesman Nthatisi Modingoane.

The city said it was committed to the development of an informal trading sector by creating trading spaces.

"The city has already started with a process of proclaiming and de-proclaiming trading areas in and around the inner city," said Modingoane.

Brian Phaala, one of the informal traders who attended the court proceedings yesterday, said he could not wait to start trading today.

"If we had lost the case today [yesterday], I was going to pack my bag and leave this country. But today, I can see that there is justice after all," said Phaala.

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