Cape moves to secure Vanguard Drive

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Copy of ct 2354269 Independent Newspapers Siqalo informal settlement, off Vanguard Drive near Mitchells Plain. The city is to deploy extra officers to the area and install CCTV cameras to curb violent protests. Picture: CANDICE CHAPLAN

Cape Town -

The city is to install CCTV cameras and deploy more security officers along Vanguard Drive near Mitchells Plain to deter violent protests by residents from the Siqalo informal settlement in the area.

Authorities have had to close the road several times over the past month.

 

On Saturday and Monday, residents of Colorado Park called for their Siqalo counterparts to be relocated.

The move to secure Vanguard Drive, a key road, followed a heated stand-off between Siqalo and Colorado Park residents at a public meeting with mayor Patricia de Lille on Monday.

“The city has had to respond with all the available resources at our disposal to conduct safety operations,” said mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith.

“Since the meeting, we have increased our policing in the area to ensure a more visible presence to deal with the protest action.”

There are close to 1 800 families in Siqalo, just off Vanguard Drive.

The city said it had provided 2 000 portable flush toilets, 100 chemical toilets and water standpipes next to the road.

A CCTV camera at the R300 and Vanguard Drive intersection will be installed later this month, Smith said.

He said law enforcement officers would man a 24-hour satellite office on Vanguard Drive later this week.

“Our staff will be deployed on a 24-hour basis and are available immediately should roads be obstructed or lives be threatened.

“Due to complaints of traffic congestion during protests, we have allocated traffic pointsmen to guide motorists to alternative routes if there are any protests,” Smith said.

Siqalo resident Lundi Silolo said: “I think it should be illegal to install cameras to monitor people. We are being sidelined by the government and they are now targeting us for speaking out against the bad services in our area. We also have freedom of speech. Are our needs not important?”

Colville Ratepayers Association chairwoman Washiela Harris said Monday’s meeting with De Lille had been fruitless.

The association represents ratepayers from Colorado Park and London Village in Mitchells Plain.

“The mayor never gave us answers,” she said.

Harris said residents had asked for the relocation of Siqalo residents.

“Their protests blocked our roads leaving us with no route to go to work or school,” she said. “They caused chaos and damaged vehicles - we simply cannot allow that.

“I know that they need houses and services but the residents want these people to be relocated elsewhere.

“We were told by the city that they are not on the housing waiting list so I don’t understand what their major gripe is,” she said.

De Lille said: “The law prevented the city from providing services on privately owned land. The city provides temporary services on the nearest available city-owned land in the event of an illegal invasion on private land.”

Asked if the city had considered relocating Siqalo residents, De Lille said the matter was still before the Western Cape High Court and would be heard on May 12.

ANC leader in the city council Tony Ehrenreich said De Lille fanned racial tensions in Mitchells Plain. 

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