Wild Oats and George markets both shutdown by local police
We need to start coming up with ways to network and move food, particularly one that cannot be closed or compromised.
SEDGE FARMER’S MARKET CLOSED DOWN
Wild Oats Market prohibited from opening after being interpreted as a place of leisure
SEDGEFIELD NEWS - Instead of the regular flow of enthusiastic customers, stall-holders at the Wild Oats Community Farmers Market last weekend were met by law enforcement officers prohibiting them from trading.
The Wild Oats Community Farmers Market has operated outside Sedgefield for two decades and facilitates 65 stalls.
With roughly two or three operators per stall, nearly 200 people benefit from selling their products at the market. Other than being closed for 10 weeks last year, the market has continued to operate during the Covid-19 pandemic and has provided an essential means of income for stall-holders.
This came to an end on Saturday 24 July when organisers were prohibited from opening up the market.
"We had people setting up the market for the day, when we got a call just after 06:00 telling us that law enforcement and police had pitched up at the gates," said market co-founder Susan Garner.
She then went to the market herself to establish what was happening.
"We were handed a letter from disaster management stating that we were not allowed to be operating and that we will be closed," Garner said.
The letter, dated 23 July, cited Section 24 of the amended Disaster Management Act regulations that were published on 11 July in which flea markets are prohibited. It contains no mention of farmer's or produce markets, which were explicitly mentioned as being allowed to operate in accordance with regulations published the previous month on 28 June.
According to Richard Meyer, Knysna Municipality's head of Disaster Management, the decision to close the market was made during a meeting of the Garden Route District's Joint Operations Committee (JOC). Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) spokesperson Marilia Veldkornet corroborated this.
"It was unanimously resolved by representatives of local municipalities, the South African Police Service and the GRDM, that the organisers or owners of flea markets be notified that any operations of scheduled flea markets would be deemed as unlawful," she said.
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