The Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) has launched an investigation into the street vendor abuse claim.
A viral video has been circulating, showing two officers appearing to confiscate goods from the trader while community members question the officers about their actions.
The Facebook user who posted the video on Sunday said in a post he witnessed “two police officers manhandling a lady who was selling dog beds to try and make a living”.
He alleged that the officers requested a bribe from the vendor because she did not have a licence to trade.
“Due to her not having made a sale [on the day] she could not afford to pay them. So instead, they then decide to start taking away all her items,” he said.
He said the police officers refused to identify themselves, and neither was wearing full uniform.
With the high levels of unemployment that we are facing, we should not be penalizing entrepreneurs. We should be finding ways to support them and to grow their businesses. This is not the way, there is no empathy whatsoever.
JMPD spokesperson Xolani Fihla said the video clip and statement posted on Facebook “alleging that JMPD officers abused and harassed a member of the public” has been brought to the attention of the department’s management.
“It is further alleged by the complaint that the officers tried to solicit a bribe from the vendor for selling goods on the side of the road without the permission to do so.
The matter has been brought forward to the JMPD Internal Affairs Unit, and a preliminary investigation has been initiated,” Fihla added.