Cape Town Protests – More than 20 people were arrested on Monday morning as violent protests over land and housing erupted in and around Cape Town and a police official was injured in the ensuing skirmishes, Western Cape police said.
“After several run-ins between the police and protesters in several instances of public violence on Monday morning police arrested 25 suspects for a range of crimes including public violence and contravention of parts of the Disaster Management Act,” spokeswoman Brigadier Novela Potelwa said.
She said six suspects were arrested near Mamre. A group of 200 protesters burnt tyres on Silverstroom Road and pelted police with stones.
“A police official was injured in the face during the commotion.”
Bellville south to the north of the city also saw violent protests and 12 suspects were arrested here.
The protests followed a call from pressure group Gatvol Capetonian, which translates as Fed-up Capetonian, to shut down the city on Monday in protest at the plight of backyard dwellers, property evictions and the local authorities’ clampdown on ongoing land invasions in the Cape metro.
The warning triggered a call from Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato to the office provincial police commissioner for support for metropolitan law enforcement structures in dealing with any ensuing violence and to “to prevent those intending to terrorise law-abiding residents”.
“I have written to the Western Cape [police] commissioner, urging a coordinated law enforcement response to protect residents,” the mayor said.
Potelwa said the commissioner’s office agreed to mobilise officers to deal with the protests.
“The management of the police in the province has undertaken to mobilise resources within the SAPS and other law enforcement agencies under the auspices of the ProvJoints to curb acts of lawlessness.
“In the same breath, sporadic incidents of public violence that have taken place in various parts of the Cape Town metropolis remain a troubling aspect for law enforcement agencies.”
The city’s own law enforcement units have in recent weeks faced sustained criticism for countering a spate of land invasions in parts of Cape Town.
This escalated after the eviction of Bulelani Qholani from a shack in Khayelitsha while he was naked, in an incident which was criticised by Police Minister Bheki Cele and is subject to an independent investigation.
The city council on Monday suspended all refuse services for fear that staff and vehicles would come under attack.
“City staff and vehicles have increasingly become targets of attack amidst outbreaks of violence, and it is because of this climate that this drastic decision was made,” the council said.
“Unfortunately limited refuse collection in areas not directly affected by protests will not be possible as many staff are facing challenges travelling to and from work related to the ongoing unrest and threats of a lockdown.”
Monday’s protests prompted the closure of Keerom Street in central Cape Town, which is home to the Western Cape High Court, as well as a section of the R300 in Kuilsriver north of the city and Peter Barlow Road between Robert Sobukwe and Kasselsvlei roads in Belville South, also in the northern suburbs.
The city’s safety and security department said vehicles were stoned in Robert Sobukwe Road.
Protests also flared in Heideveld on the Cape Flats, forcing the temporary closure of Duinefontein Road, while tyres were alight on the intersection between Forest Drive and the R102.
Tyres were also set alight in Ocean View in the southern peninsula, forcing the closure of the main road to seaside village of Kommetjie.
African News Agency