Lebowakgomo residents torch foreign nationals’ stalls

Foreign nationals accused of not having permits to run stalls
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Tensions are still high in Lebowakgomo in Limpopo, following the torching of business stalls belonging to hawkers who are foreign nationals. The community members and hawkers are accusing the foreign nationals of illegally occupying trading spaces in the town at the expense of local traders.

They’re also accusing the Lepelle-Nkumpi Municipality of not implementing by-laws on hawkers and of failing to remove the foreign nationals whom they accuse of selling without permits.

An opposition councilor from Magoshi Swaranang Movement, Thapelo Mphahlele, says, “The cause of this shutdown in Lebowakgomo … it’s caused by our own municipality. We even took a resolution to allocate all the hawkers in order. We budgeted about R10 million. So, unfortunately, the municipality, especially the mayor, we went to her office many times requesting her to implement the resolution that we took. Everybody just comes here, makes a business (sic), the foreigners as well. So, when you wake up in the morning, you will find a new container, even at the parking.”

Lepelle-Nkumpi Municipality Spokesperson, Lesiba Ledwaba says the foreign nationals will be allocated a space following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.

“As the municipality, we condemn the act of violence and also (the) demolishment of foreign nationals’ mini shops. The mayor (had) several meetings with the workers association, (and) key amongst other issues was to have an action plan in terms of relocating them today … your site, which the municipality has since allocated.”

Related video: Hawkers in Tzaneen at odds with municipality by-laws