Aug 8, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Court dismisses Prasa bid to remove Park Station informal traders

The High Court in Johannesburg has dismissed an application by the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) to ban informal trading in and around its premises in the city.

The premises are located between the CBD and Braamfontein, surrounded by Rissik, Wolmarans, Wanderers and Noord streets.

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute (Seri) represented more than 60 traders blocked by Prasa from 21 June to then were unable to earn a living, the Supreme Court ordered on Monday.

“As a result, the traders had lost their only source of income, which for many was supporting themselves, their children and their extended families,” Seri said.

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As Seri Saida’s traders tried to earn a living again after being taken away on June 21, Prasa urgently appealed to the Supreme Court for an injunction over a two-pronged argument.

“First, argue te Prasa that the return of the traders would risk provoking xenophobic vigilante groups who opposed their presence there in order to cause damage to Prasa’s property.

“Secondly, she argued the presence of the traders have Prasa prevented from finalizing and starting to implement its informal trade policy and accompanying regulations,” Seri said.

The traders denied the request, saying Prasa had unduly relied on the threatened behavior of a third party and not the traders themselves.

“Moreover, Seri argued that Prasa could obtain relief through the normal channels since there was an interdict against the vigilante group who had threatened action against Prasa if the trade continued should be,” Seri said.

The traders also argued that the issue of regulating trading at Park Station could be resolved without the traders i depriving her of her ability to earn a living.

“The Supreme Court eventually concluded that the application was not urgent and dismissed it with costs.”

Seri said that Court considered that a trade ban caused irreparable harm to traders because they are marginalized people and if they cannot trade they would have no income.

Khululiwe Bhengu, Seri’s lawyer representing the traders , welcomed the court’s decision, saying it was a reminder that the ability to earn a living cannot be divorced from the right to dignity.