‘Safety first’ – says Mashaba

Whilst travelling along Harrison & Smit, the City of Johannesburg Executive Mayor, Cllr Herman Mashaba came across a member of public conveying cow heads in a trolley uncovered – which is a health hazard. The suspect is an undocumented person and will be subsequently charged.
The Mayor intervened with an informal trader he witnessed transporting raw meat on the streets of the Inner-city, without observing the legal requirements for handling and transporting such foods. The meat was exposed in transit and posed a potential health risk to those residents who would have consumed it.
“I have just personally stopped this illegal act in our city. How do we allow meat trading like this? I am waiting for @AsktheChiefJMPD to come and attend before we experience a breakdown of unknown diseases in our @CityofJoburgZA,” he tweeted.
The move was met with mixed reaction on social media.
While some congratulated Mashaba for upholding food safety standards, others accused him of killing small businesses.
Twitter users pointed out that the practice of transporting and selling meat in this fashion had been going on for decades.
In response to complaints, Mashaba tweeted: “Black business is not about putting the health of our residents at risk…There is a huge difference between chaos and running business. Our country can ill afford the health breakdown of unknown diseases.”
In a statement, Cllr Herman Mashaba says, his reaction was borne out of a situation in which so many of Joburg’s residents lack access to quality health care and are vulnerable to the kind of outbreaks that can arise from improper treatment of food.
“This is true in both the formal and informal economy. Our healthcare facilities throughout the City are already streched to the limit, and an outbreak would be disastrous for our residents.” he said.
“However, for my commitment and focus on the enforcement of by-laws in Our City and the need to proactively protect the wellbeing of our residents, I remain resolute and unapologetic,” he affirmed.
“As a City we have to be proactive in preventing breakouts of disease, knowing how the poorest in our City are the most vulnerable in this regard. Access to quality healthcare is not a right enjoyed by all in our City.
Meanwhile, the EFF says the city should invest in infrastructure and incentives for these zones, to cater for informal traders. The party said it would be meeting with informal traders in Johannesburg to engage with them on its manifesto proposal and “jointly work on a strategy to deal with the incident”.

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