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Shots fired at Tshwane protesters

Jonisayi Maromo

Security guards have allegedly shot one of the men protesting against the ill treatment of vendors at the hands of the Tshwane Metro police.

Mourners at Foster Rivombo's memorial service in January. (Gallo)

A man was shot and injured on Tuesday afternoon, allegedly by security guards in Marabastad, near Pretoria central.

Eyewitnesses at the scene said the man had joined the group of informal traders who were protesting against the Tshwane Metro police’s ill treatment of informal vendors in the area.

The Tshwane emergency medical services ambulance arrived more than half an hour after the man had been shot, according to passersby. He had been lying at the corner of Mogul and Fourth streets.

Several police officers and a crowd had gathered by the time the man, identified only by his nickname Slesh, was placed in the ambulance.

Memorandum of grievances
Earlier, forum chairperson Shoes Maloka led hundreds of sjambok-wielding protesters through the city centre, demanding that metro police stop “stealing” traders’ stock and that Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopato act against the officer who shot dead one of their colleagues in January.

Members of the Tshwane Barekisi Forum demanded answers from the municipality after they handed over a memorandum of grievances to Tshwane MMC for economic development Subesh Pillay at the Tshwane Metro municipality’s head office, Isivuno House.

“Barekisi [traders], the response we are getting is that we can get our answers in seven days. We do not want that. We want our answers tomorrow,” Maloka said to cheers from the crowd.

“MMC Subesh, talk to the people. Why are you afraid?” Maloka said.

Pillay said he was not afraid. He was shielded by several Tshwane Metro police and South African Police Service officers as he addressed the crowd.

“You cannot expect us to respond tomorrow. Your memorandum doesn’t say when you want the answer. What if I say we will respond next year?

“We have acknowledged receipt of your memo. I can’t make that commitment of responding tomorrow,” Pillay said in a discussion with Maloka.

Pillay later told the crowd: “You have said in your own memorandum that you are disciplined and will not resort to anarchy. You can be sure that the issues you raised will be responded to in the next seven days ... We have to go and speak to other departments before we respond,” Pillay said.

Fight another day
The vendors vowed to congregate at the municipal offices on Wednesday morning.

Forum secretary Elliot Mcadimeng said several petitions had been sent to Ramokgopa previously to no avail.

“We sent a previous memo through his then personal assistant Georgia, who is now his wife. The metro police tell us that nothing will happen to them as long as Ramokgopa is in charge,” said Mcadimeng.

“We demand that they [metro police] stop stealing our stock. We are still oppressed in Tshwane by Ramokgopa.”

The vendors also wanted Ramokgopa to act against the officer who shot dead trader Jan Foster Rivombo. The forum said that Rivombo, a vegetable seller, was shot in January for refusing to hand his stock over to Tshwane Metro police.

“That officer is still on duty. He must face the law. We have opened a case with Ipid [Independent Police Investigative Directorate] but the killer is at work and enjoying himself,” said Mcadimeng.

Businesses closed in a hurry as the protesters marched from Bosman station along Paul Kruger Street, leaving litter in their wake.

The hawkers threatened to make the city ungovernable if the Tshwane Metro police did not stop harassing them.

The forum says it has more than 1 000 licensed members in Pretoria. – Sapa

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