Protesters set municipal premises alight

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Cape Town - A municipal building in Khayelitsha was set alight and vandalised by people demonstrating for houses and land.

The city’s subcouncil 24’s premises in Walter Sisulu Road was engulfed in flames after petrol bombs were thrown at the building, damaging parts of it on Wednesday night. Subcouncil 24 covers the greater Khayelitsha area.

Police spokesman Derek van der Merwe said on Thursday that a public violence case was opened. No one had been arrested.

Mayoral committee member for human settlements Siyabulela Mamkeli said: “According to our knowledge, the aggrieved persons are situated on Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) owned land. The city approached Prasa recently to discuss the possibility of service provision without the relocation of the occupants. This would include the necessary permission from Prasa. We are hoping to resolve our discussion soon.”

He condemned the violence. No one was injured.

Subcouncil 24 chairman Xolani Sotashe also condemned the incident: “This barbaric act is clearly taken by people who live far away from the teachings of the people’s movement. Our movement places great premium on discipline. Members of the ANC know how to carry themselves and know how unhappiness is dealt with in the movement.”

Sotashe, who is also ANC chief whip in the City Council, said supporters of the party would not become violent towards their leaders. “Our people have always carried the burden of being packed in high-density, low-serviced areas with an unusual grace.

“Our people have had days and weeks of putting up with no water and bust up sewerage pipes, but they have never felt justified burning a building.”

Sotashe warned: “There are services that remain to be delivered, but we will not allow criminals to use this to destroy and vandalise structures.”

Meanwhile, the city’s mayco member for utility services, Ernest Sonnenberg, said the destruction of 114 container toilets in Kosovo had put a strain on the provision of services in the area. “There have been acts of vandalism and wilful destruction of property in Kosovo, Philippi, on an unprecedented scale.”

Sonnenberg also said vandalism of a Kosovo substation was the worst he had seen.

“There has never been an incident of this magnitude in the city before: seven of the eight control panels were destroyed, grids were lifted, and main cables vandalised. Due to this thuggish behaviour, 5 200 households have had no electricity since June 26.

“Other city facilities and infrastructure have been affected as well. The damage caused is in excess of R2 million.”

Anyone with info can call Crime Stop on 08600 10111 or SMS Crime Line on 32211.

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Cape Times

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