Corner of Klein and Plein Street like I have never seen it before

CBD of Johannesburg is looking spanking clean of late. All the vendors seem to have been driven out. I have not seen central Johannesburg this clean since arriving in this melting pot.

There was a lot of sharing of clothes for functions. These were also used as bargaining chips for future favours. The brands were broken down into two segments, equipment and apparel. Whoever owned the branded equipment made the rules and you had to dance to their tune. Play was easily stopped cos the owner of the bat was out and all of a sudden he needed to go home. The basketball community were the most generous and as the ball basically belonged to the community. You would just go and borrow it even if the owner was not at home.

Corner of Klein and Plein Street like I have always known it ©GoogleEarth

The corner of Klein and Plein Street which is usually packed with pirate DVD stalls was clear as day. For once you could walk passed here without rushing to shield your children from the x rated DVDs sold at these stalls or the fear of pick pockets.

De Villiers street as I have always known it ©GoogleEarth

There were lots of people milling around the cleaned out areas which seemed to suggest that this may not be a permanent initiative. I am also eager to see how long this will last, if it is sustainable. If they can pull it off I would respect Johannesburg Metro, but I am not holding my breath. I have seen them many times chasing people for a day who are there throughout the whole week. So I question the logic of chasing them one or two days a fortnight.

De Villiers street looking squeaky clean.

Having become used to seeing these areas packed with people hustling and marketing their wares, it was weird to see it absolutely clean and bare! Lots of space. I think this also reduces crime as people are not forced to squeeze through cramped pavements.

If this is long term I wonder what will happen to these metal structures which were the frames for the stalls?

The flea markets along De Villiers Street are all gone! Its looking like a ghost town.

Johannesburg Metro cops closing down a corner shop.

Usually from where I was standing you would not be able to see inside the shop or these police standing here as there were rows of fruit, veggies and sweet stalls in between.

From De Villiers Street, I didn’t even know you could see trees at the end of King George Street.

King George Street is usually packed with chisa nyamas and more second hand clothing stalls. The clean up also extends to Joubert Park. Every second Sunday of each month we go into the park to preach and we realised today that its a no go area, no preaching, no meetings or gatherings of any kind. There were Metro cops there ensuring this would not happen.

Strong Joburg Metro police presence around the ‘hot spots’

I wonder if this is a a sort of POSA (Public Order Security Act – Zimbabwe) and Operation Murambatsvina rolled into one being carried out in Central Johannesburg. We will wait and see over the next few weeks. or maybe its a move to regularise vendors and limit the number that can trade in these areas. As much as the new clean look is welcome, I kind of miss the the crowded, busy streets, a constant reminder of the break neck speed of Johannesburg.

Either way the Johannesburg Metro need to be commended for the effort they have put in cleaning up Central Jozi and hope they are in it for the long haul.

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