Shops looted as protest turns bad

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botrivier done INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS File picture: A man tries to flee after stealing from a store during a service delivery protest. Photo: Henk Kruger

A service delivery protest by Botrivier residents turned ugly on Monday when six Somali and Chinese shops were looted and police had to use tear gas, rubber bullets and blue dye to try to disperse the crowd.

The police confirmed that 32 men and 12 women were arrested and were expected to appear in the Caledon Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

Botrivier police spokesman Cyril Coetzee said police would continue to patrol the area during the night.

The protest started early on Monday morning and continued for most the afternoon. Residents are demanding that the Theewaterskloof municipality deliver on promises of housing, toilets and tarred roads.

It was the second protest in less than a month.

Chen Xi Ynu, who operates one of the looted shops, said she woke up to the sound of rocks landing on her roof. When she heard someone break the door, she ran away while her husband called the police. She said they have been in the area for just more than a year and had lost everything.

Barbara Matomela rented a room in her house to a Somali shopkeeper.

The shop was trashed and looted and Matomela said she did not know where her tenant had run to.

“He was alone in the shop when they (the looters) came, as his brothers were away. They (the brothers) did not even realise they were going to be targeted.

“They also wanted to join the march because we all thought we were marching against the municipality.”

Community leader James Pheiffer said: “The residents are angry with the municipality which made a lot of promises for houses, toilets and tarred roads and never delivered. This is not about the ANC or DA or Cope. People here are unhappy and they came together as a community for the protest,” he said.

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Cape Argus

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