Anger spills over . . .
Traffic lights and tyres were set alight in a protest around service delivery in Nomzamo on Thursday 26 July.
Residents of the different informal settlements of the area took to the streets to let their anger be known, and barricaded Onverwacht Road towards Strand with burning rubble.
This forced motorists to use alternative routes.
Unconfirmed reports also said a truck was set alight during the protest.
The Road Accident Fund (RAF) programme planned to take place at the Lwandle Community Hall on Saturday was later cancelled, as fears mounted after the protest action.
The unrest saw six residents arrested by police and a case of public violence was opened against them.
Sergeant Mthokozisi Gama told City Vision the six appeared in the Strand Magistrate’s Court and were released on warning.
Mwezi Lugwali, a community leader, said the protest was over a number of issues relating to service delivery in their areas.
“The electrification process has stalled and we don’t know what exactly is going on,” he said. “When we tried to investigate we found it was not the actual workers that were slow, but there were politics involved.”
Lugwali said the community’s grievances included the numeration of shacks in Pholile as well as the lack of available land.
He said protesters have given the City of Cape Town seven days to respond to their grievances, failing which they will resort to other means.
Residents also signed a memorandum of understanding, in which 52 residents were to be trained as electricians.
This, residents claim, has not occurred and they don’t know when it will take place.
Noxolo Silali told City Vision the protest action were not only for informal settlement residents, but backyarders as well.
“We were taking our picket next to the N2 where it is busy and can be seen by everyone passing by. We want people to take note of our pleas and know that not all is rosy as the picture has been painted about this province,” she said.
Silali said protesters were forced by police to wage their protest near the police station, instead of on the N2, and that is when the shooting started.
When City Vision arrived, rubber bullets were being fired and tear gas launched as police chased protesters towards Strand.
They also doused the burning rubble in the road as residents retreated towards Nomzamo.
Gama, in a media statement, said the police were called to the scene and on arrival found community members burning tyres, and they closed the N2 and Onverwacht Road.
“The community started throwing stones at the police,” he said. “More police manpower from other law enforcement agencies were mobilised to assist in containing the situation. Police had to use tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowd as they were becoming violent.”
Gama confirmed the arrest of six community members between the ages of 24 and 45.
Councillor Sithembile Mfecane said residents had valid grievances after the things they were promised failed to materialise.
But he departed from them completely on the issue of destroying property.
“These things don’t come easy,” he said. “Now motorists and shop owners are not happy, and division rears its head within the community itself. This is something we need to engage on as leaders,” he said.