Joburg police slammed for confiscating goods from traders
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Johannesburg: Social media users have slammed the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) for confiscating goods from vendors, but the authorities have defended their actions, saying traders must comply with City of Johannesburg by-laws and desist from overcrowding during a pandemic.
During an operation on Monday, which the JMPD said was sparked by efforts to keep the city clean and to be a safe environment, officers said they conducted a high density by-law operation in the heart of Johannesburg, Hillbrow, Yeoville, Doornfontein, Fordsburg and Kensington.
As part of the operation, officers confiscated goods including fruits and vegetables, which are sold on pavements by vendors across the city.
The JMPD said vendors had to apply for permits, and failing which their goods would be impounded by officers, arguing that illegal trading on city pavements contributed to road accidents.
JMPD spokesperson, chief superintendent Wayne Minnaar, said the officers were acting in line with the Disaster Management Act and were concerned about the overcrowding in the Johannesburg and inner city areas.
“It's about getting the individuals who are in the city to comply with the regulations in that overcrowding is a very serious problem.
“The Disaster Management Act says people must maintain a social distance of at least 1.5metres, but in the CBD, individuals are congesting the areas on the pavements. This operation had to be done,” said Minnaar.
Minnaar said the JMPD officers confiscated truck loads of goods, including fruits and vegetables, as well as clothing and footwear.
He said the vendors could get their goods back by paying an inmpound fee of between R1 600 and R3 500.
Meanwhile some on social media have slammed the police for the operation.
Dear Mr @Julius_S_Malema— uMasuku (@lkmasuku) August 16, 2021
When the EFF takes power we want new police officers. These ones are broken, it is as if they do not come from the same communities as us.
Mara why don't people deal with drugs and human trafficking, hijacked buildings, stolen and counterfeit goods first before you harass poor people who are struggling to make a descent living though?— Ayanda H. Dhlomo (@ayanda_dhloms) August 16, 2021
Number one to impose your hate for the poor who are trying to make a living during a pandemic because the same country cannot provide jobs and a decent quality of life BUT nowhere to be found when women and children are murdered, kidnapped, raped and abducted.— Mauritian MILF 🇲🇺🇿🇦 (@AnatheaFourie) August 16, 2021
You disgust me
Imagine doing this during a pandemic and if people fight such and fight to survive it is called insurrection . This is so wrong on many levels, how should the poor survive ?— Vitamins (@vavavoom6) August 16, 2021
These are peoples livelihoods.. its their daily bread and you are saying that they must remove isinkwa sabo?? Ninezinhliziyo ezimbi no ways..💔💔. Wjere are they supposed to get survival money from when they clearly not being hired and have to make ends meet!!!— Slee♡ (@Sleeweezy) August 16, 2021
Our government is anti-Black how do you take away the people's means of survival without providing them with adequate alternatives. How would people strive economically if there is no space for them in the economy.— Bayanda Ngcingwana (@BayandaNgcgwana) August 16, 2021
On the criticism levelled at the JMPD, Minaar said: “This is just about the compliance of the Disaster Management Act, that's it.
“We cannot allow for over crowding as we know it is the number one reason for the Covid-19 infections.
“We have to getpeople not to overcrowd,” he said.
Ai suka. Have you ever tried to walk there? There's criminals hiding amongst those people. Selling drugs & Mugging people. How do you want them to fight crime in such an environment?— Mr T (@MrTsoks) August 16, 2021
Minnaar said vendors were allowed to sell goods – except cooked food – without a licence, but they could not do so in some areas such as near ATMs, on pavements obstructing walkways, near parks and churches, near entrances and within five metres of an intersection.
“When pavements are congested, people also get forced to walk on the road, which causes road accidents,” he said.