Members of the Fragrance Street Market Association (FSMA), Margret (Barbra) Pillay (Chairlady), Michelle Thirumani (Vice Chairlady) and Nazeen Rahman Adam (Secretary) appeared at the Chatsworth Magistrates Court on charges of harassment and intimidation last Wednesday, 16 May.
Traders and members from the Fragrance Street Market (FSM) want justice to be served against these individuals. According to the members, they have allegedly been harassed and intimidated many times by the committee, and now want it to end.
Varushka Memdatt, Secretary of the Market Users Committee (MUC) said that traders had no option but to turn to the courts for protection.
“These individuals who hold public positions are the centre of all of the irregular dealing taking place at the Municipal Facility (FSM). These irregularities range from violation of rights to violation of public policy. It is clear that they are in breach of their own constitution,” she said.
Memdatt went on to add that trader’s rights have been compromised and violated. “The irregularities and violators must be exposed and eliminated. It is in the best interest of the community and the public at large to identify the problem areas in public facilities and have authority deal with it.”
One of the accused, Thirumani said in court, “This is ridiculous!” and left the court house, declining to comment further.
Traders from the FSM, together with Active Citizens Movement and Right 2 Know campaign, alongside other human rights groups came together in one voice against the irregularities of the members of the FSMA, and protested outside court.
The protest was in support of the traders, fighting for equal rights.
Mr Pillay, representative of the MUC at the FSM, explained his case against the Chairlady.
“I got a harassment order against Barbra, who has been intimidating our members and has threatened us with assault.
She has had members physical assault me as well as threatened us in meetings whereby the municipality manager was present,” he said.
He added that he sought protection of the law as this allegedly isn’t the first ordeal with Barbara.
Last month, a trader, Hazel Rumlutch at the FSM was left unemployed after being removed from the market. Her stall was allegedly shut down and she was instructed by the market committee to shut her gates because she was accused of subletting. Since then, Ramlutch’s case was reviewed and was allowed in the market to trade.
Annie Dhyanand, a trader at the market was allegedly refused legal representation because of the opposing party. She presented her case on her own strength.
“When they opposed that I have a legal aid attorney, I was fine because I have nothing to hide. Because I am more than capable of standing on my own. We’ve got hard evidence against them. I have charged Michelle and Nazeen for harassing me. They have been verbally harassing me since the MUC has come into the market in September,” she said.
Dhyanand said all she wants is justice to be served and for a new committee in the market.
All cases against the accused have been adjourned for next month.