Local hawker displaced

EVERYDAY HUSTLE: Local hawker Xolani Rayi grilling meat kebabs at his position in Victoria Road on Wednesday morning Picture: ANDISA BONANI

A Komani young man who takes care of his family by operating as a hawker on Victoria Road selling meat kebabs, is aggrieved by the sudden placement of a shipping container belonging to a foreign national at his spot.

Mlungisi resident Xolani Rayi has been operating at his spot for about three years, but his application to have the spot registered under his name was unsuccessful.

“I was told my kind of business was illegal because I am not allowed to sell meat on the streets. However, I continue to operate because the spot was vacant and there were many other people doing similar things around town. When I inquired about the container I was told no permanent structures that can be removed on a daily basis were allowed. I continued working under my gazebo until last Monday when I arrived at my spot to find it was occupied by a container belonging to a man from Bangladesh.”

Rayi said the foreign national told him he had applied to the municipality for the spot and it was granted to him.

The local authority queried this, indicating the municipality had been closed due to Covid-19 cases at the institution.

I also questioned how the municipality could have allowed him to place a container there when I have previously been told they are not allowed. I was told this because I also wanted to place a container to cook from when I started this food business, but I was told it was impossible. If he is telling the truth, how can the municipality prioritise a foreign national over a local person? If we are both wrong for operating there (and in my case selling meat) then the man must move and I will continue my business as I have done for the past two years.”

This is not the first time local hawkers have had issues with foreign nationals claiming to have been given occupied spots by the local authority. Last year a similar matter arose when a foreign national placed a shipping container on someone else’s spot and ended in a physical scuffle that involved the police.

EMLM spokesperson Lonwabo Kowa said they had not allocated any spots for hawkers in a long time, except those operating at the inter-modal taxi rank.

“The process of developing a new policy for the allocation and management of hawkers is underway and will be publicised after endorsement by the council. The municipality has started reopening its offices. If there is a dispute regarding spots for hawkers officials will assist in resolving them.

“The association of hawkers could also resolve and clarify matters as they work closely with the local authority.”

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