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City condemns police brutality against informal traders in Mitchells Plain

by City of Cape Town
on 14 Mar 2008
City of Cape Town
City of Cape Town

The City of Cape Town today called for an urgent meeting with the Minister of Community Safety, Leonard Ramatlakane, to seek answers as to why the SA Police Services were breaking down informal trading structures and using undue force against informal traders in the Mitchells Plain Town Centre.

Councillor Simon Grindrod, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Social Development and Tourism, said: "When I arrived on the scene, I saw police using brute force against the informal traders. A pregnant woman trader was dragged across the street into the police station. I witnessed how police had randomly trashed trading stalls. The traders produce and goods were left unprotected. Somali women claimed they were sexually harassed by the police and that large sums of money had been stolen. The police clearly had an agenda, because they came out with full riot gear and used extreme and disproportional force. I will be lodging a formal complaint with the Independent Complaints Directorate".

The City has tried very hard to win over the informal traders in Mitchells Plain Town Centre. All the traders had already agreed to move to a central market location specially established for informal trading by the City.

The Informal Traders have been working with the formal businesses and the City to establish a well-managed informal trading environment, and this would have solved many of the problems. It is anticipated that this process of establishing a well managed informal trading environment in the markets that were specially established for this purpose has been set back by at least two months, and everyone would now be extremely distrustful of this process.

"These are ordinary people simply wanting to make an honest living through trading. The police had no reason to dismantle the structures or arrest people. I want to know why they acted without consulting the City and in terms of what law they had operated?" he added.


END

MEDIA RELEASE
NO. 88/2008
14 MARCH 2008


ISSUED BY:
COMMUNICATION DEPARTMENT
CITY OF CAPE TOWN
TEL: 021 400 3719

MEDIA QUERIES:
CLLR SIMON GRINDROD
CELL: 084 200 6060


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