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JHB CBD foreign traders to establish committee following clash with cops

Violence broke out on Thursday after police targeted shops selling counterfeit goods.

The South African Police Service and Johannesburg Metro Police Department clashed with protesters in the central Johannesburg on Thursday, 1 August 2019. Picture: IntelligenceBureauSA/Facebook

JOHANNESBURG CBD - Foreign shop owners in the Johannesburg CBD resolved to establish a committee to deal directly with all spheres of government and the police.

There were scenes of violence on Jeppe Street on Thursday with shop owners pelting stones at police vehicles after officers targeted businesses selling counterfeit goods.

Foreign traders said they were terrorised by the police and private security firms in the country for at least 10 years now.

Eyewitness News has seen video footage showing how officials on Thursday stormed local shops making off with cash, clothing and even destroying CCTV cameras.

The traders claimed after their stock was confiscated, it was sold to other traders.

Meanwhile, the Africa Diaspora Forum on Friday called for a dialogue with the police and government, following clashes between officers and those vendors.

The Africa Diaspora Forum said foreign traders should be left alone to conduct their business without fear.

The forum’s Vusimuse Sibande wanted government to intervene.

“Some of the people who had a problem were South Africans and were saying they need a committee that is going to talk to government to find a way forward.”

A South African trader Jeffrey Webber said he bought his stock in the Johannesburg CBD.

He said foreign business owners were only trying to make a living.

“All the people from different provinces come here to stock and make a living by stocking here.”

The situation remained calm on Friday, but most business owners had closed shop, fearing police may return to the area again.

WATCH: Joburg CBD vendors: We're being terrorised

Meanwhile, the South African Human Rights Commission has condemned the attack of law enforcement officers by the traders.

The commission said the attacks undermined the rule of law.

Some traders cried foul, saying they were being discriminated because they're foreign nationals.