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Cape Town - Four of Cape Town’s key arterial routes remained shut on Monday morning after a new wave of protests was launched on the Cape Flats.
Mew Way and Bonga Drive in Khayelitsha were closed on the south of the N2, as was Lansdowne Road, which threads west towards the southern suburbs, while Duinefontein Road north of the N2 was also shut.
The city’s traffic and metro police divisions were posted along long stretches of the N2, and one lane was closed for around an hour on Monday morning between Borcherd’s Quarry and Spine roads, the city’s Richard Bosman reported.
The city’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said the extra officers had already cost the city around R600 000 in overtime in the past two weeks, since protests were launched in Philippi, and a further R6 million had been suffered in damage to municipal property, such as street lights.
“We are deploying extra resources in a bid to contain this damage,” he told the Cape Argus on Monday.
Protesters from Sir Lowry’s Pass Village tried to close the N2 at the foot of Sir Lowry’s Pass, but this was thwarted by officers from the city.
The charges laid by mayor Patricia de Lille and Premier Helen Zille were still being investigated by a four-person team from the SA Police Service, and Smith said they were being assisted by the city’s theft and loss department investigators, whose job it was to try to recoup losses sustained to council property.
De Lille on Monday again blamed the ANC Youth League for fomenting the violent protests. A council source said the City of Cape Town had received information from a number of different sources which indicated the involvement of the ANCYL in the recent spate of violent protests.
This is in the face of repeated denials by the ANCYL. Local senior ANCYL leader Mfuso Zenzile told the Cape Argus late last week that the league still planned to “make the City of Cape Town ungovernable”, but that this had not yet begun.
A source within the DA-led city council alleged that ANCYL members were still being used in the organisation of the protests, even if they had not planned them, and cited SMSes received as proof. The source alleged that the over-arching planning of the protests was part of the ANC’s plan to “reclaim” the Western Cape from the DA.
But a senior ANC source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as he is not involved in provincial politics, explained: “Listen, of course ANC people in the communities are at the centre of demonstrating – they are councillors, community activists, etc, who will organise at a local level, using SMSes, sure.
“But the idea that it’s some conspiracy – controlled from Luthuli House or anywhere else – is just nonsense. There’s a lot more spontaneity to it than you think.”
On Monday morning, on Lansdowne Road tyres and rubbish were burnt by smaller groups of protesters, with police responding to flare-ups.
At around 9.10am an outbound Metrorail train was forced to stop due to rubbish burning on the track. As police and law enforcement officers were clearing the tracks and dispersing protesters, the rear carriages of the train were stoned. The train was delayed for around 15 minutes.
In Bonga Drive, where the road was also blocked by burning rubbish, a large group of people gathered, shouting: “We are protesting for service delivery, we won’t be killed.”
The demonstrators dumped faeces in front of police, saying: “You hold your nose for this, but this is what we live in every day.”
At about 9.50am police dispersed a crowd of around 150 people on Bonga Drive. Police made arrests and fired rubber bullets.