‘Anti-election’ protest shuts Vanguard Drive

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Copy of ca Isiqalo service delivery protest.JPG INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Its not so much the absence of services but desperate competition over who controls their allocation that triggers protest, writes Jeremy Cronin. File picture: Cindy Waxa

Cape Town - Anti-election protesters from the Siqala informal settlement shut a large section of Vanguard Drive on Monday morning.

Protesters burned tyres, toyi-toyied and removed party election posters from lamp posts.

On the backs of these, slogans were painted – “no vote, no houses, no toilets, no electricity”.

They also dumped faeces from portaloos on the road.

Siqala resident Roy Nobatana, 37, has lived in a shack there for the past seven years.

He said the ANC and the DA had both failed to bring meaningful improvements to his life since the advent of democracy.

“I will not vote again, and we forbid other people from voting.”

He added that residents had attacked and petrol-bombed a voting registration station in Siqala on Sunday.

As Nobatana was speaking to the Cape Argus, fellow protesters set fire to a stack of tyres. Police responded by throwing two stun grenades and chasing after the protesters on foot.

By mid-morning police Nyalas and armoured vehicles with water hoses had arrived too.

Businesses in Vanguard Drive complained about a morning of lost trading.

Pacific Ocean wholesalers, a seafood and dried fruit outlet, has its busiest trading period of the week on Monday mornings, said director Achmat Carr.

“This is when hawkers come to us to get their stock for the week. There is no other access, so our business is effectively closed,” he said.

Sidney Marais, who’s lived in the area for 25 years, came to warn Carr that protesters had threatened to loot the wholesaler if it opened.

“This has been going on since 6pm on Sunday and they have not stopped since,” Marais said, adding that he was pelted with stones when he walked to Vanguard Drive to check the commotion early Monday morning.

The Siqala protest follows similar, yet isolated protests elsewhere in the province. In Kayamandi informal settlement near Stellenbosch, residents closed a voting station this weekend and issued death threats to people attempting to register as voters.

At the time of publication, Vanguard Drive was closed to traffic.

Police spokesman Andre Traut said the protest was being monitored by police. No arrests had been made.

Cape Argus

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