Street Hawkers on the R71
The illegal Street Hawkers on the R71 werre removed but the EFF wants them back. Photo: Joe Dreyer

The EFF have accused the Greater Tzaneen Municipality of abusing their powers and violating their own municipal bylaws when they removed the illegal street hawkers from the R71 last month.

It is the view of the red berets that the municipality must reimburse the street hawkers whose stalls were destroyed by the GTM’s Traffic Department for a loss of income. According to the EFF, in a memorandum sent to the municipal manager earlier this month, the affected street hawkers will submit their list of goods stating the cost price as well as commission, to the GTM which the municipality must compensate them for.

“The municipality must compensate the street hawkers to avoid legal action against the Greater Tzaneen Municipality,” the memorandum read. “Since the municipal officials and law enforcement officers overlooked the bylaws, we therefore demand full compensation to all the affected street hawkers and the reinstatement of the affected street hawkers to continue with their business without any threats or intimidation.”

In the document the EFF claimed that the municipality’s law enforcement officials acted unlawfully during the operation to evict the street hawkers along the R71.

“The affected street hawkers were not issued with a notice to vacate the area, if the law enforcement officers claim to have served them, please provide us with signed return of service with the sheriff’s date stamp.”

One of the technicalities the EFF highlighted was that the municipality did not compile a list of the goods that they confiscated, and they did not inform the hawkers where they would be able to collect their goods should they agree to paying a fine, and they were not issued a receipt.

According to a Councillor we spoke to, this matter was also raised at the IDP strategic planning session in Blyde where it was agreed that the hawkers cannot simply be done away with, but that they should be granted a space where they could trade without endangering the public along the R71 especially.

One of the proposed areas where the street hawkers could be relocated to was the area behind PG Glass, but the room was divided on the topic as it would be out of the way of the foot traffic that the hawkers rely on.

*Editor’s note: Would it not be fair to expect that the hawkers present their receipts for the purchase of the items they are selling at their stalls next to the R71? Perhaps they should also be charged rent for the municipal land they are using to generate an income and then perhaps they should also be inspected by the municipality’s health inspectors. You know. Like the rest of the business community.