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Cape Town - Defiant poo-flingers have vowed to step up their actions - and say they are mobilising at least 250 000 residents for another march in Cape Town at the end of the month.
On Thursday, poo protest leader Andile Lili said the planned march would go ahead with or without permission from authorities, after a march involving thousands he led on Wednesday degenerated into violence and mayhem in the city centre.
He also warned Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, with whom he said he was “very angry”, that she should be careful when entering informal settlements around the city.
“All of them (informal settlement residents) must attack Helen Zille wherever she goes. Helen Zille knows there is a crisis. But she does not respond,” he said.
On Wednesday, an initially legal march to the Provincial Legislature, organised by Cape Town Informal Settlements and led by Lili and fellow poo-flinger Loyiso Nkohla, became violent when breakaway groups went on the rampage, repeatedly looting stalls and targeting traders.
The protesters demanded Zille address them about their demand for better housing, sanitation and access to electricity.
On Thursday, DA provincial leader Ivan Meyer lodged an incitement complaint with police against Nkohla. The city said it would sue Lili, Nkohla and other poo-flingers for at least R6 million damages caused during protests to which they were linked. Nkohla has denied urging protesters to loot stalls.
On Thursday, Lili said Zille “must be responsible for what happened” on Wednesday. “We don’t hate Helen Zille as a person. We hate her for her actions. She is promoting divisions within our community.
“We must fight for ourselves as poor Africans and coloured people,” Lili said. He said it was expected at least 250 000 people would march in the city at the end of the month.
“No one must go to work. We must fight for improvements for the poor. We must come into the city of Cape Town; it’s where the problem is,” Lili said.
On Thursday, mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said the city would sue Lili, Nkohla and other poo protesters for direct damages, caused during previous protests, of R6m, or indirect damages of R21m.
Smith said during Wednesday’s protest, at least R300 000 damage had been caused to the city. This amount could climb.
He said the city would make any CCTV footage available to the police to assist in their investigation. “We suffered very little. The bulk of the damage was suffered by informal traders,” Smith said.
Mayor Patricia de Lille urged traders who had been looted to lodge complaints against the organisers of the march. She said Lili and Nkohla were “behind a series of violent protests in Cape Town as part of their concerted efforts to make the city and province ‘ungovernable’.”
On Thursday, police spokesman Andre Traut said seven cases, including cases of public violence, malicious damage to property and theft, had been opened and two suspects hade been arrested during the protests.
He said there had been an adequate deployment of police.
“Accusations that we were ill-resourced and underprepared are unfounded as we have good reason to believe that our tactics ensured that the situation was kept under control…” Traut said.
* On Thursday, Sapa reported that Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel told MPs he condemned the violence during the protest, and State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele denied it had been organised by the ANC.