Tackling illegal street traders to reduce crime

Officials from AbaQulusi municipality approach a hawker who is conducting his trade illegally in the CBD.

AFTER falling victim to crime twice in two weeks, DA ward councillor, Alta de Kock, is on a mission to reduce crime in the CBD.

Cllr de Kock began her campaign to reduce crime by hosting a peaceful protest in front of the Klipkerk on November 3, during which a memorandum was handed to the police asking for a pro-active approach to dealing with crime.

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This week, Cllr de Kock used a different approach to counter the same problem.

Accompanied by acting manager of public safety, Mr TS Mthembu, and Lindiwe Ntshangase of the Department of Local Economic Development (LED), Cllr de Kock took to the CBD on foot to rid the sidewalks of illegal street hawkers.

“The hawkers, who are setting up illegally, especially on Church Street, are using the sidewalks for their trade. Once their business is set up, there is very little space left in the sidewalks for pedestrians. It forces people to walk, cramped together, which makes it easier for bag snatchers to commit crime and then disappear into the crowd,” explained Cllr de Kock.

The team from AbaQulusi Municipality approached all the hawkers and asked to see their licences to trade. Some of the hawkers did have licences but were not trading in their designated areas. They complained that their designated areas were unsafe, or that there wasn’t a lot of foot traffic in the place they were supposed to be conducting business.

“I advised them that, if they were unhappy with the area that had been designated to them for business, they should contact the LED Department and ask to be assigned a new spot. A map that indicates which spots are suitable for hawkers, according to the town’s by-laws, is available at the Planning and Technical Services building in Mason Street.

“This time, we just asked the hawkers to leave, and issued warnings. If they do not comply, we will be issuing fines of between R500 and R1 000. If they still do not comply, we will confiscate their goods. The hawkers, who are trading illegally, are a disadvantage to the businesses in the CBD that are paying rent to be there, they disadvantage these business’ clientele by blocking the entrances to some stores, and they make it easier to commit crime in the CBD,” concluded Cllr de Kock.

Residents who observe illegal hawkers in the CBD are urged to forward a photo to 060 986 0731 or to upload it to Alta de Kock’s Facebook page.

Estella Naicker

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