Komani hawker jailed overnight

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A Komani woman spent a night in jail as the police cracked down on hawkers selling fruit and vegetables on Cathcart Road.

Enoch Mgijima municipality has forbidden hawkers from putting up stands on Cathcart and Robinson roads citing a violation of bylaws.

This is despite allowing them to operate there throughout the year.

On Thursday a standoff between the police and hawkers led to Nonzame Ndonga, 57, being arrested after refusing to pack up her fruit stand and leave.

She appeared in the Komani Magistrate’s Court yesterday where the petty charge of interfering with police action was withdrawn and the matter was struck off the roll of court cases.

An emotional Ndonga told the Saturday Dispatch outside the courtroom yesterday that spending the night in jail was the worst thing to happen to her.

“I have never slept in prison, now to make things worse, I spent the whole night without my diabetes medication.”

She said on Thursday she had left her child at her stand while she moved around town selling fruit.

“I received a call from one of the hawkers telling me to come back quickly as the police were removing them. When I came back they had packed the things nicely into a bakkie that was standing next to where I was,” she said.

Ndonga said after the police left, they moved to the area where they had been told to sell from.

“The police came again and started removing us from the area where they told us to put our stands. I told them that it is painful that we would sell our things in Cathcart Road the whole year and at the end of the year they remove us.

“One of the police officers manhandled me, pushing and trying to pull me towards the police van. I told him that what he was doing was painful and he must just ask me to get into the van but he grabbed me and forced me inside,” she said with tears streaming down her face.

Just like the majority of the hawkers, Ndonga’s family depends on the money she makes selling fruit.

“I feed my family and have to buy school things from what I make selling fruit. I have lost a lot of money because I was arrested at 1pm and I am only getting out now at 10am.” — thembiles@dispatch.co.za

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