Cape Town -
Southern Cape police have called in air support from Cape Town to help monitor violent protest action in KwaNonqaba, Mossel Bay, where protesters have wreaked havoc over the past three days, damaging municipal buildings and road infrastructure.
Disgruntled residents took to the streets over the lack of electricity in their township and the municipality cutting what is believed to have been illegal power connections in the area.
On Monday, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse at least 3 000 residents who gathered outside the KwaNonqaba municipal office, which is adjacent to the local police station. Protesters burnt tyres and stoned vehicles, even targeting the police station itself.
Small groups of protesters continued to gather around KwaNonqaba on Tuesday. Rubber bullets and tear gas were again used to disperse them.
Community Safety MEC Dan Plato also went to Mossel Bay on Tuesday afternoon to intervene. Plato was set to meet Mossel Bay’s executive mayor, Marie Ferreira, and the KwaNonqaba police to get first-hand information about the violent protests.
Plato said it was concerning residents had been targeting infrastructure, which ultimately meant they were damaging their own facilities.
By late yesterday the Mossel Bay municipality’s executive officer for strategic services, Harry Hill, said the municipality was still counting the cost after the protest action.
“While we have not determined the total cost of the damage caused to municipal property, the traffic lights that were ripped out and damaged by protesters amounted to about R300 000.”
Meanwhile, a by-election is scheduled in Ward 13 in Mossel Bay on Wednesday. The ward, previously represented by the DA, became vacant after the party terminated the councillor’s membership.
Faizell Baselero Porter of the ANC, Rosina Henrietta Ruiters of the DA and Elizabeth Joubert of the Independent Civic Organisation of SA will contest the ward.