Three held in Mitchells Plain protest

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Copy of ct Isiqalo Informal Settlement 8810 done (39886312) INLSA A resident of the Isiqalo informal settlement is manhandled by police during a protest in which residents took to the streets to call for houses, sanitation and electricity. Photo: Brenton Geach


Cape Town - A crowd of 200 blockaded Vanguard Drive in Mitchells Plain with burning tyres late on Monday night after a second day of protests over services by Isiqalo residents.

In the informal settlement earlier on Monday, three people were arrested in clashes with the police, where protesters caused traffic chaos along the busy road.

At issue, residents say, is the need for formal houses, decent sanitation and electricity.

A number of journalists, including a Cape Times team, were pelted with stones on Monday by people in a crowd hiding between shacks in the settlement.

Police deployed a number of officers, two Nyalas and five other vehicles. Stun grenades were lobbed to disperse the crowd and a water cannon was used to douse fires in the road.

Traffic lights on Vanguard Drive were damaged and motorists were diverted along the R300.

Three people were arrested for public violence. Police spokesman Frederick van Wyk said they would appear in court once they were charged.

City traffic spokesman Richard Coleman said Morgenster Road also had to be closed to traffic.

“Once the SAPS gives us the clearance that the area is safe, we will open the road again. About three roads were closed in the area and caused delays.”

The roads were re-opened at 1pm on Monday.

Isiqalo residents want the city council to provide better services.

Situated on private land, the settlement is home to about 1 800 families. The city has provided several standpipes, about 100 chemical toilets and hundreds of portable toilets.

“We want houses, electricity, running water and a decent living. We don’t want to use the portable toilets, and living in the shacks for so long is not comfortable,” resident Theresa Baatjies said.

“We all have to make use of these taps and some people who live at the back of the area have to walk almost a kilometre to get water. I have to sit here and wash my clothes right next to the road.”

Baatjies, who said she was unemployed, has beenliving in the settlement for three years.

She complained that the city had not met the community. “It looks like they have thrown us away. We cannot afford to buy houses and we cannot rent. All we want is a bit of assistance from the city.”

Natalie Bent, councillor for the area which includes Colorado Park and parts of Philippi, said a community meeting was been scheduled for May 2.

“The community want more taps and toilets. I will have to meet with the mayor to see if we can have more toilets and taps because the decision doesn’t lie with me alone,” she said.

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