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Our businesses are collapsing because of criminals, say traders. Informal traders march to Parow police station…

Informal traders march to Parow police station

Photo of protestersJamila Moodley, chairperson of the informal traders Parow Arcade Association, hands over a memorandum to Parow police. Photo: Vincent Lali

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About 100 informal traders marched down Voortrekker Road to Parow police station in Cape Town on Thursday to demand that police protect them against criminals.

The protesting traders shouted, “Stop Crime”, “We are gatvol”, and sang songs. The traders came from Parow, Bishop Lavis, Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha and elsewhere.

Kenny Whiteboy, a committee member of the Parow Arcade Association, said small traders near Station Road were “brutally attacked and robbed”.

“We want the police to increase visibility where small traders operate,” said Whiteboy. “They even take gold teeth out of people’s mouths. Crime has reached its peak now.”

Sylvia Kaleya said, “Our businesses are collapsing because customers are [too] scared to come to where we sell, because they may be robbed.”

Lizette Mellow said, “The criminals have put me out of business. I no longer sell clothes. I struggle to pay rent, buy food for my kids and pay their school fees.”

Rosheda Muller, president of the South African Traders Alliance, said, “Government doesn’t give us jobs, so we sell. We can’t sit at home while our kids go hungry … Informal traders ply their wares to put their kids through school, put food on the table and pay medical bills.”

Jamila Moodley, chairperson of the Parow association, said, “I’m a senior citizen and a granny now, so I can’t fight them [criminals]. The police must help us … Criminals no longer hold you up with a knife. They use guns these days.”

Police Colonel Raymond Jacobs received the traders’ memorandum. He said he would identify demands he could tackle himself and escalate those outside his authority to the provincial police commissioner. He promised to respond within 14 working days.

article origionally written by GroundUp