The Greater Tzaneen Municipality (GTM) finally decided to take a stand against the illegal street hawkers that have been occupying the streets of the CBD and the R71 towards Magoebaskloof last Thursday evening, August 23.
In the late hours, after dark, GTM in cooperation with Tzaneen SAPS and Tzaneen Traffic Department took to the streets of town to remove the illegal stalls.
However, when LETABA HERALD reporters went out to see the aftermath in the early business hours of Friday morning, it seemed to be business as usual.
The illegal vendors on Danie Joubert Street were all smiles as they carried out their usual operations and those selling fruit and vegetables on the R71 were busy building new structures.
Nathi Sedibe, Chairman of Limpopo Economic Development (LED) of Ward 15, spoke to the HERALD about the matter.
Despite the hawkers adopting usual practice and selling their goods within a few hours of the GTM removing their stalls, Sedibe remained positive, “This is an ongoing project because we have discovered that most of these people have never applied for permits. We are very much happy because the Municipality is giving this issue the attention it needs.” He further went on to say: “The issue has nothing to do with the poverty or votes, it is the principle. We must treat everyone equally. As residents, If you don’t pay your services, you get cut off. They must take example from the women who are cooking at the old Checkers building, they got their share from their compliance.”
Sedibe and the LED will not be giving up on this matter easily and when Sedibe spoke to the HERALD last month about the matter, he outlined their main concerns,”We are losing economy to these ‘non locals’. It is not about being xenophobic, they are selling counterfeit products. It is fraud, it is open criminality. We have surrendered our shops to the hawkers, we have surrendered our streets to the hawkers.” says Sebide.
The LED’s main concern is the threat to the local economy, because whilst high street stores contribute rates for water and electricity and provide employment opportunities, the hawkers pay nothing for their spot on the street.