Juba City Council defends decision to relocate hawkers
JUBA – The Juba City Council has dismissed the allegations of sabotage against small-scale roadside traders.
This comes after several women who sell goods along Gudele market road complained to the state Chamber of Commerce over their eviction by the council.
But in a rejoinder, city council mayor Kalisto Lado said his administration wants all the traders to conduct their activities orderly in certified places designated for them within the market.
Lado said it was unhealthy to sell edible goods along the roads, adding perishable food commodities can easily lose value once they are exposed to sun heat.
“We need people to be trading exactly where it is certified and where they are required to be. The purpose is actually to create law and order in the city so that we sell our food commodities in good places that are environmentally certified,” he stated.
Lado called on traders to use spaces allocated for trading in the markets by the state government to avoid blocking road users.
“We are not hampering their activities but we want them to conduct their activities orderly. You cannot block the roads by putting your food commodities along the road simply because you are hustling to put food on the table,” he said.
The mayor argued that the city council was implementing environmental and health measures that traders ought to follow whenever they conduct their businesses.
“You cannot sell food in a dirty place. [People should not buy food only to be poisoned]; they should buy food to be healthy,” he said.
Robert Pitia, the Chairperson of Central Equatoria State Chamber of Commerce, condemned the Juba City Council for what he termed as penalizing traders unnecessarily in the city.
However, last month, the Deputy Mayor for Infrastructure Thiik Thiik Mayardit also warned city council blocks against evicting women who sell perishable goods.
Thiik said those women were struggling to provide food for their families and should not be disturbed.
But in the latest interview with City Review, the Mayor defended the city council saying those women were causing unnecessary congestion and traffic along the roads.
“It was not easy for us to clear the road at the custom roundabout, the traders want to sell their goods in the middle of the road. They put the wheelbarrows in the middle [of the road],” Lado said.
He accused kiosks operators of dumping garbage in the middle of the roads, saying some hawkers were dogging taxes.
“They now move from area to area and door to door selling their goods with the aim of not paying tax. So it is only those traders in the market who pay taxes to the government, including money for garbage collection,” Lado stated.
The city council had also relocated the previous Bus Park from Gudele one to Gudele two in a bid to reduce traffic along the roundabout.