Media: MP traders up in arms

11 03 2010

2010-03-11 05:52:02 – VOCFM

Mitchells Plain traders are up in arms following the removal of their stalls by law enforcement officials on Monday. According to Mischka Cassiem from the Concerned Hawkers and Traders Association (CHATA), this was because of a new by law which came into effect last year, which had declared Symphony Lane in Mitchells Plain a no trading zone. Cassiem said that approximately 1000 informal traders and hawkers have been left with no income and their goods have been confiscated by the law enforcement officers.According to Cassiem, emotions ran high as the stalls were demolished. “It’s an emotional moment here. I am standing in front of hundreds of traders- probably a thousand traders. We have all been booted out and just a few has been allocated bays and permits,” said Cassiem. “They confiscated 100 boxes of tomatoes that belong to me, 120 bags of onions, as well lettuce. They demolished everything on Monday so we do not have more money to go the market to buy more goods,” she said.

Evictions

Cassiem said the evictions currently taking place at the Town Centre is reminiscent of the evictions which took place in District Six after the Group Areas Act come into effect. “For myself I cannot sit with a dry eye here. I am actually holding the hand of a 60 year old trader who has been evicted. What kind of heart doest the Mayor have? He gave the mandate to the law enforcement officers to evict the traders from their current trading bays,” said Cassiem.

“Customers are crying out to us to come back to the lanes to take our old spots. Everybody is unhappy even those who opted to be relocated to the new trading area that was set up by the City,” explained Cassiem. When asked if they had contacted the City of Cape Town about the evictions Cassiem said the Mayor is expected to address the traders on Wednesday night. However she added that to date the Mayor has not responded to any of the previous correspondence that CHATA had sent to them.

She explained that many of the traders had a long history of trading in the area. “I’ve built a history with my husband here. We know each other; we have been with each other for years. Depsite all the issues we have faced with the City we stuck together,” she said.

Warning

While Cassiem was speaking to VOC, she said a trader who had been trading in the area for a good number of years, was issued with a warning as he was still trading in the area. She added that while the stalls were been demolished on Monday an official from the City of Cape Town was abusive to one of the traders. A charge has been laid against the official by the trader.

Cassiem maintained that the hawkers are being harassed and threatened by law enforcement officials. “We are been harassed, we are been threatened and push around by the officials it is just not on. We were evicted from District Six and they threw us in Mitchells Plain. We have sustained ourselves for over 20 years now they are doing the same here. This must be raised and looked at,” Cassiem said.

When asked if they would be getting their confiscated goods back, Cassiem replied that by now most of the produce would have gone off. In addition to this she said that the City had not recorded what goods belong to what trader, which will make it difficult for them to receive compensation. “We do not know if we are going to get our goods back. We are talking about big money here. Our goods were just stuffed into the van and were not counted. So I can not say that this is my goods, because they do not who it belongs to”, she said. VOC (Dorianne Arendse)

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