Street vendors’ wares set alight

Street vendors along Aitken Road were left speechless when EMPD and a security company allegedly confiscated and burnt their wares.

On December 19 a community member phoned the NEWS to report the matter.

On arrival at the corner of Palliser and Aitken roads the NEWS found three large fires, unattended, burning in a nearby veld.

Mike Malanga stands near a burning couch along Aitken Road where it is alleged EMPD and a security company set fire to the products of street vendors on December 19.

In the fires were pieces of pallets, wooden furniture and the frame of a couch.

Mike Malanga, who assists the vendors in making wooden products, said it was not the first time EMPD had done this.

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The vendors claim EMPD set fire to the products which could not be taken away.

“They didn’t give us a chance to clean up or remove our stuff. They just came and burned it,” said Malanga.

“It’s painful when this happens. I am trying to make my living honestly.”

Mike Malanga stands near a burning couch along Aitken Road where it is alleged EMPD and a security company set fire to the products of street vendors on December 19.

Antonio Mubai, a vendor, said EMPD confiscated the products because none of the vendors have permits to sell their items.

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Once their wares are confiscated the vendors are usually instructed to visit the Edenvale EMPD station where they are fined.

“After we pay the fine we get some of our products back,” said Mubai.

Antonio Mubai sits on a concrete barricade near the fires along Aitken Road.

A request for comment was sent to Lieutenant Colonel Wilfred Kgasago, EMPD spokesperson, at the end of last year.

Comment was again requested by January 3.

Kgasago told the news on December 19 that he had begun looking into the matter.

At the time of going to print no comment had been received.

  AUTHOR
Stephan Lehman

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