If people trying to earn a living are treated as a problem, we should not be surprised when they behave like one.

Violence in Johannesburg’s inner city was met with a predictable wave of righteous indignation from people in authority across the spectrum. They have competed to lecture informal traders on the need to behave like civilised people. Politicians and many commentators here enjoy nothing more than the cheap morality of denouncing people at the bottom of the pile. It gets them cheers from those whose opinions they value and there is no chance that anyone who dares to answer will be taken seriously.

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