Message from Roy Chetty EMM Support Group

5 August 2009

The EMM Support Group thanks the Legal Resources Centre for taking up the matter of the continued, unjustified harassment of the market community. We also wish to thank Comrade Brother Yusuf Ismail for rushing to the legal defence of Romilla Chetty (secretary of the Market Association), in her hour of need.

Viva Early Morning Market, Viva ! Solidarity in Action for a Just Cause !! Council told to leave traders alone!

Kamini Padayachee (Daily News) (5th August)
Traders at Durban`s Early Morning Market in Warwick Junction secured an interim interdict against the eThekwini Municipality yesterday, preventing municipal officials from harassing legal traders. The traders had claimed that metro police officers were harassing them and confiscating their goods.

The municipality wants to relocate the traders, to clear the way for a multimillion-rand development that will include a R400 million mall.
The traders are opposed to the relocation and have lodged an application in the Durban High Court for an interim interdict to stop the evictions, pending a review of the council`s decision to lease the market to a private company. This case was adjourned last month to allow the private company to be joined to the application.

According to the draft order yesterday, which was granted by Judge Gregory Kruger, the municipality is interdicted from harassing, intimidating or treating legal traders at the market with disrespect or contempt. The municipality was also interdicted from impounding legal traders` goods or requesting that the traders remove the goods every day when the market closes. Certain provisions in the market bylaws were also declared invalid.

Romila Chetty, the chairwoman of the Early Morning Market Traders Association, said goods worth thousands of rands had been confiscated from her stall in the morning.

"I was not at my stall because I was not feeling well," she said. "Metro police officials came to the market and started asking for permits. Since I was not there they confiscated all my goods and issued a fine of R200. Officials also told us we cannot keep our goods overnight at the market or they would take them away."

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StreetNet International is an alliance of street vendors. It was launched in Durban, South Africa, in November 2002.

Membership-based organizations (unions, co-operatives or associations) directly organizing street vendors, market vendors and/or hawkers among their members, are entitled to affiliate to StreetNet International.

The aim of StreetNet is to promote the exchange of information and ideas on critical issues facing street vendors, market vendors and hawkers (i.e. mobile vendors) and on practical organizing and advocacy strategies