Mozambican trader targeted

Umjindi Traders Association members destroying Angelica Muthusi stall.

The stalls, which are situated on the turn-off to Badplaas, belong to Angelica Muthusi, a Mozambican.
The issues started after she applied for a court order against Dumisani Mahlalela, the chairperson of UTA, and the City of Mbombela Local Municipality (CMLM).
According to the court order, Mahlalela and the CMLM were to allow Methusi to continue to operate her business in the area.
It read, “In 1996 the CMLM provided me with a renewable permit to operate my business at R38 Badplaas Road. On July 31 I was approached by a man called Dumisani Mahlalela along with Ms Mazibuko. They told me that I’m no longer allowed to operate at the place because I am not a South African. I am legally in this country and I was issued with a working permit that I bought at the City of Mbombela Local Municipality. I sell fruits and vegetables and my current stock amount to R4 800. I am afraid that my stock will rot. I have been advised that no one has the right to evict without a court order.”

During the hearing last Wednesday at the Barberton Magistrate’s Court, members of the UTA came in numbers to support Mahlalela. The court dismissed the order on the basis that there were no charges laid against Mahlalela.
After the court appearance, UTA members boarded taxis and went to Muthusi’s stalls.
They destroyed the stalls and threw out the fruits and vegetables that were on display.
According to Mahlalela, every hawker operating within the Barberton area is affiliated with the UTA.
“She is not affiliated with us. She is saying she is affiliated with a local economic-development official working at the CMLM. We don’t know why she is affiliated in Mbombela while she is operating in Barberton,” said Mahlalela.
He said through internal investigations, they discovered that there were officials from the municipality who accepted bribes from hawkers, especially foreigners, in exchange for vendor permits.
No comments were recieved from the municipality at the time of going to press.

Richard Nkosi

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