Cape Town - Western Cape police locked horns with protesters in KwaNonqaba in Mossel Bay for the fifth day on Thursday, using stun grenades and teargas to disperse an angry crowd that hurled stones at motorists during a protest over illegal electricity connections.
Southern Cape police spokesman Captain Malcolm Pojie said sporadic incidents of stone-throwing occurred in the town’s main road, while protesters did the same on the N2 highway on Thursday.
Pojie said police successfully intervened and defused the situation.
“We are maintaining high police visibility in the area to ensure the safety of the public,” he added.
The protests, which started on Sunday, have wreaked havoc in the coastal town as residents have taken to the streets over the disconnection of electricity in their area.
Disgruntled protesters have resorted to barricading roads, burning tyres and looting foreign-owned shops to highlight their concerns.
A municipal building next to the police station was set alight, but attempts to target the police station were foiled.
A total of 34 people have been arrested since Sunday for public violence and looting.
Pojie said they appeared in the Mossel Bay Magistrate’s Court on Thursday and were released on a warning to appear again on September 4.
Western Cape police commissioner Arno Lamoer, who visited the area on Thursday, expressed his dismay at the attacks on police and the torching of the Mossel Bay Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences office building in Adriaans Avenue on Tuesday.
“These acts deprive the community from receiving services they are entitled to, more so during this month which is proclaimed as Women’s Month.
“This unit is a specialised unit responsible for investigating cases against women and children.”
Lamoer said the damage to the building was estimated at R1 million, and police vehicles were also damaged. “These acts cannot and will not be condoned nor tolerated and we will therefore act harshly against those who deprived others who are entitled to these services.”
He said normal policing would not be affected.