Cape Town - It took five policemen, dressed in full riot gear, to pin him down, but as they hustled the man towards the police van, he still managed to slip free and hide under the vehicle.
Stones flew through the air, breaking apart with a snap as they landed around policemen trying pull the man, a protester at Enkanini informal settlement in Khayelitsha, out from under the vehicle.
Police set off stun grenades to disperse the angry residents.
“Why are you doing this to us?” shouted one resident over a megaphone.
Nosiphiwe Mthati had just moved on to the city’s land last night and was building this morning when police arrived to evict them.
“My bed is in there but they won’t even let me take it… This is wrong, they should’ve given us notice.”
Now her four children were homeless, she said. “Where will they sleep?” she added. “I spent all my money on materials, everything I had.”
Tuesday’s operation was the second round of evictions from land in Enkanini, where police and residents clashed on Sunday.
Resident Lungelo Nofemele dismissed claims that the land was to be developed. He said he had been living in the area since 1992.
“All that happens on that land is children are raped and murdered. “People need to live there, to make it safe, to have somewhere to live.”
Police and law enforcement rolled into the township at around 9.30am on Tuesday.
Hundreds of residents had started building on city land opposite the informal settlement on Monday night.
According to residents, more than “300 hokkies had been built last night”.
Safety and security director Richard Bosman said the squatters had to be evicted as they were invading property earmarked for development.
Initially residents formed a human wall protecting their shacks, but when police in full riot gear charged forward they dashed towards the township’s maze of shacks.
Removal teams worked quickly, looking up every now and then for flying rocks as they dismantled half- built shacks with iron poles.
As teams moved in they encountered more resistance.