Fiery row at Ebuhlanti

Sparks fly among women over braai stands at popular picnic site

Ebuhlanti vendor Khulukazi Plati prepares fire to braai meat at her structure at the popular East London hangout spot.
Ebuhlanti vendor Khulukazi Plati prepares fire to braai meat at her structure at the popular East London hangout spot.
Image: BHONGO JACOB

While thousands of party-goers enjoy themselves at popular East London hangout, Ebuhlanti, a bitter dispute over territory and braai stands has caused division between the women vendors.

Seven protection orders have been opened among the women braaiers in the last two months.

Some of the women are also fearing for their lives on a daily basis as the situation threatens to get out hand.

Former secretary of the committee established in 2012, Scenery Park’s Khulukazi Plati said the trouble began, after a list was drawn up for people who were due to receive proper braai structures as part of Buffalo City Metro’s plan to revamp the area.

The ongoing feud is simmering between vendors who have proper BCM brick structures and those who use drums to prepare their meat.

After that they came to me blowing whistles, forcing me to drop the protection order, but the councillor told them that they have no right to chase me away.

The vendors charge R40 to have patrons’ meat braaied on – and, on a busy day, take home at least R800. “The problem started in March when councillor [Vusumzi] Njece came and told us about development that is planned for this place,” said Plati.

She accused committee chairwoman Nonqubela Gobinduku of abusing her power to remove certain vendors on the list of 42 people – so she could include her friends on the list. After several disputes, the committee was dissolved in March.

A second committee was formed in which Gobinduku was re-elected as chairwoman. Plati did not attend the first meeting of the newly-formed committee. “I refused to go because I was scared to be part of that meeting.”

She claims her actions angered Gobinduku who then allegedly instructed her followers to confiscate the meat Plati had been braaing for her customers. “I quickly went and reported this to BCM officials who were in the area and they told me to go to the police. They continued to take my meat and I opened a case at the police station,” Plati said.

She said she obtained a protection order against the group. “After that they came to me blowing whistles, forcing me to drop the protection order, but the councillor told them that they have no right to chase me away.”

The group also opened a protection order against her. “Six women opened protection orders against me. Now I do not feel safe in that place anymore. It is hard to sit at home and not be able to work. I have a daughter who is doing her first year at WSU and look after two grandchildren and two orphans.”

Things went from bad to worse for Plati when she was arrested on June 23 and spent the night at the Fleet Street police station for violating the protection order against her.

Police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Hazel Mqala confirmed Plati’s arrest. Mqala confirmed that six women have opened protection orders against Plati and that the matter has been taken to court.

The women who have a protection order against Plati refused to speak to the Daily Dispatch. Thumeka Mvila said: “I have nothing to say to you. I do not know anything”.

Another person in the group, Ntomezinye Booi, said: “I have no comment on this.”

Gobinduku could not be reached for comment since Wednesday and failed to respond to a message sent to her.Njece said they have had numerous meeting with the women. “There was a consultation when we made a list of the people working there.

“The fights started after they had disagreements within their structure and the matter is now in the hands of police. This is escalating but by next week we will have a solution with a way forward,” he said.

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