Thousands of residents from Sir Lowry’s Pass Village burned tree trunks, plastic and bushes in a service delivery protest that blocked access to the town from the N2 this morning.
Some protesters lobbed rocks at riot police and fire and rescue officers while others, carrying sticks, chanted, saying they were tired of empty promises from the authorities.
Tom Mti, 62, said he had been living in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village for over 30 years, yet he and his neighbours still lived in shacks.
Mti said there was a meeting with the City of Cape Town about a month ago at which it promised to move some residents but this had not yet happened.
“Yesterday we had a community meeting and decided that we were going to strike this morning because we have had enough.”
At around 9am the police managed to move the crowd back to the village, where they were met by hundreds of other residents who had blocked the roads going in and out of the area.
George Cupido, chairman of a Sir Lowry’s Pass community group, said residents had complaints ranging from housing to drainage and sanitation. “Every meeting (with the City of Cape Town) is always the same. They make us promises they can’t keep,” he said.
Resident Phillip Jankies said he lived in an RDP house and had woken up at 3am to protest in “solidarity with people in the Rasta community” who live in the area that is primarily affected.
A 23-year-old Rastafarian known as “Blackface” who has lived in the area all his life said homes flooded badly in the rainy season. “Rain water seeps into our houses, the whole area is muddy and the electricity trips. We we want proper houses.”
Ward 100 councillor Johan Middleton tried to address residents this morning but they refused to speak to him, saying they wanted to see mayor Patricia de Lille.
Middleton said the problem was that there were 200 people on the housing waiting list in the area and space to build only 140 houses.
He said they had meetings every Friday with residents to try to explain the situation but that some people did not understand.
He said the mayor would not be able to make it out to speak to residents but that the Western Cape MEC for community safety, Dan Plato, was expected there today.