Johannesburg inner city street vendors have decried their treatment by the municipality. (SABC)
The Constitutional Court has ruled that the City of Johannesburg cannot prevent street vendors from returning to their trading spots on Thursday.
This after more than 2000 traders was removed by the City as part of Operation Clean Sweep. The court has also ordered the City to pay the traders legal costs. The court room erupted in jubilant applause as the over 2000 traders, who brought the application, were told they had won. Only those traders, whose names are listed in an annexure, will be able to return. They can now go back to the same spots where they had previously traded prior to the City's operation clean sweep.
They had brought an urgent application to the Constitutional Court after the High Court decided that the matter was not urgent enough to hear. The High Court judgment has been set aside by the Constitutional Court, who restored the status quo pending a High Court review sometime next year. The Constitutional Court says it will give reasons for its order in due course.
Johannesburg inner city street vendors have decried their treatment by the municipality in their challenge in the Constitutional Court. The City removed all street vendors, including those legally entitled to trade, as part of its Operation Clean Sweep. The traders were invited to participate in a verification process which is yet to be completed some two months later. In the meanwhile, the City has barred all traders from returning.
The traders say the City has taken away their livelihood and that they are facing a bleak festive season. Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke took issue with the City's choice of name in Operation Clean Sweep. The trader's lawyer, Paul Kennedy, says the operation was unnecessary.