23 April 2008
One Voice Of All Hawkers Association (OVOHA) will this week deliver a memorandum of demands (pasted below) to the Johannesburg mayor. The Anti Privatisation Forum identifies with the struggle by hawkers to find a future in this city that is hostile to the poor. As much as the APF is waging struggles for housing and basic services, OVOHA is fighting for the rights of hawkers to make a living. The determination of the authorities to remove hawkers from the city`s pavements is in keeping with the offense by police and local government to evict poor people from their homes and disconnect services. The very existence of the poor mars the City Council`s vision of Joburg as a ‘world-class` city, and its response is uniformly to remove or sideline people that are inconvenient to this vision.
The poors` presence in the inner city has been made criminally liable. Hawkers have been targeted, their goods and only means of survival confiscated by the Johannesburg Metro police who troop about town to also issue fines as high as R500 to people least able to afford it. The street patrols and roadblocks set up by the police also disguise a strong xenophobic drive. Immigrants (and dark complexioned South Africans) are the almost exclusive targets of the police`s attention because they are vulnerable and the police hungry for bribes. South Africa may claim to be hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup on behalf of the African continent but Joburg`s preparation strategies involve deporting as many African immigrants from the country as they can fill trains to the borders with.
The Gauteng Hawkers Association was a part of the early beginnings of the APF when it was participating in the Anti-iGoli 2002 Forum. The renewed voice of hawkers in the shape of the OVOHA is welcomed by the APF. The demands we level to the City are so similar that the affinity between our struggles is unbroken. The Forum supports the hawkers` struggle for a space in the city, and more broadly for a space for the poor in the city Joburg is becoming.
JOBURG CITY BELONGS TO EVERYONE WHO LIVES,
WORKS AND STRUGGLES IN IT!
Anti Privatisation Forum
123 Pritchard Street (cnr Mooi)
6th floor Vogas House, Johannesburg.
Tel: (011) 333-8334 Fax: (011) 333-8365
ONE VOICE OF ALL HAWKERS ASSOCIATION (OVOHA)
Rosedale Mansions, 13 Koch Street Joubert Park 2001 Tel: 011 725 9475 or 082 817 6477