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City traders accuse Council police for harassment

By Wek Atak Kacjang/Charles Lotara

Several traders and business owners in Juba have accused the City Council police for seizing their properties as a result of failure to pay garbage levy and related taxes.

On Saturday, a group of traders seeking the attention and intervention from higher authorities at City Hall told Juba Monitor that their wares and items were being confiscated at the slightest provocation by the personnel who are said to be going from one premise to allegedly collecting money for services rendered by the council.

They claimed that collecting money from the traders every end of the month had become the order of the day although services like garbage collection and sanitation remained wanting in almost every part of the town and its suburbs.

They complained that their  property were being taken by the Council police who were cruel and not ready to listen to any plea of mercy from the makeshift and small scale traders who are mostly the victims of the clampdowns.

Gaaniko David, one of the residents in Rock City said on Saturday morning the police came to his shop asking for money for garbage collection.

“As I am speaking to you now all my chairs from the shop were taken by police. Right now there are no customers at my shop. I don’t know how I can recover my chairs,” said David.

He appealed to the city council to stop police from taking traders’ properties in case they have not paid the required money for garbage collection.

“We don’t have much garbage here, we have only a small place for putting rubbish because when a vehicle normally comes in the market to collect garbage   we pay the money.” David said.

“We   requested them to give us a chance and not to pressure someone in case there is no money. They should also stop taking traders’ properties,” David added.

A Shirkat-based trader who only identified herself as Anna said the operations by the Council are jeopardizing small scale businesses.

“It’s very hard to keep business going when you are always interrupted and your goods confiscated. For people who have a family that relies on the little money made from this business, it really becomes hard,” she lamented.

When approached for comments, a businessman who requested anonymity urged the Council to use a more civil approach to getting the garbage and other levies from traders.

“What they are doing is quite unfair. I think it will be better if they use a more civilized approach to get what they want. By harassing these people they actually provoke them to become even more resistant,” said the source who operate from Konyokonyo market.

Moses, a foreign national from Uganda who runs his small scale business from Juba town said he incurs several losses each time the men in uniform approach.

“We are really affected by this. For my case I cannot make follow-up on cases such as this because I’m afraid of my status of being a foreigner. But what is very painful when they take every belonging. To some of us we rely on this business for paying rent and also buying food,” he said.

Efforts to get comments from Deputy City Council Mayor Thiik Thiik Mayardit and other officials who could possibly comment, were fruitless as his phone went unanswered.

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