Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town records 249% increase in protests; land invasions 53% up

By Jason Felix Time of article published Aug 28, 2018

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Cape Town - The Mother City's municipal law enforcers have arrested more than 12000 people in the last year - 17% more than in 2016 - while violent protests and land invasions are sharply increasing.

This and other safety figures were part of the City of Cape Town’s annual statistics for its safety and security directorate for the 2017/18 financial year.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services JP Smith said year-on-year there was a 53% increase in the number of land invasions recorded and a 249% increase in the number of protests.

“This resulted in a knock-on effect on planned enforcement operations for law enforcement, metro police and traffic services as resources had to be diverted to assist police with public order policing, affecting road closures and diverting traffic.

“Apart from the fact that other enforcement priorities were compromised, there was also the cost of damage to City infrastructure and resources like buildings and vehicles, as well as a financial impact due to overtime costs,” Smith said.

Instability in the public transport sector has also been a challenge for the City.

“There were numerous taxi-related strikes and a wage-related strike by bus operators. The ongoing service delays and arson attacks on Metrorail’s infrastructure are well documented.

“These disruptions took a toll on the affected commuters, but also placed additional strain on the road network and the enforcement staff whose duty it is to police transgressions,” Smith said.

He said that although gang violence remained an ongoing issue, the metro police department achieved a 19% increase in arrests and a 39% increase in the number of firearms recovered through targeted operations.

“There are at least 16 gang hot spots in Cape Town that experience a flare-up in violence on a regular basis. The metro police gang and drug task team, in association with the law enforcement stabilisation unit, devotes as much in resources to these communities as possible, but resources are limited. The City acts in support of police,” he said.

@JasonFelix

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