Cape Town - “The City of Cape Town needs to please try and understand and stop being aloof.”
This the call from the EFF in the Cape Town metro, who recently met with community members in the Kraaifontein area, where service delivery protests have been ongoing.
Violent protest action resumed in the city for a third day on Thursday morning, where roads were being blocked in several areas around the Cape Town metro.
The City of Cape Town’s traffic chief, Richard Coleman, provided updates on road closures throughout the morning.
He said there were protesters along Botfontein and Maroela in Kraaifontein, protest action was also affecting the R300 northbound, and the N2 outbound in Kraaifontein.
The following roads were some of those affected by the protest action:
- R300 North closed at N2.
- N2 outbound closed at Robert Sobukwe.
- Borchards Quarry link on to N2 outbound closed.
One motorist on their way to drop off their daughter at school in Stellenbosch explained that their route was affected by this morning’s protest. They usually travel from Gugulethu via Borchards Quarry, Nyanga and then straight down on the N2 towards Stellenbosch.
“On my way, I got news alerts that there were certain road closures, and then I didn’t take it much into account, but as I left and was driving, I saw traffic was at a standstill, even at Nyanga.
“We were advised to turn back because it was just chaotic and that we wouldn’t make it in time for school in any case. When we considered using Stellenbosch Arterial, which the alternative route, it was also having protest action,” they said.
“Our child had to skip at least two days of school this week because of the protests, and now we’ve had to do online schooling, which is not a favourite.”
All roads have since been reopened.
SAPS spokesperson Andrè Traut said that Public Order Police members were deployed in areas affected by this morning’s service delivery-related protest action to quell protests and ensure the safety of the public.
“Sporadic incidents where groups of up to 200 protesters are disrupting the normal flow of traffic by setting alight tyres are being monitored and policed. The R300 has been affected this morning surrounding the areas of Delft, Belhar, Kleinvlei and Kuils River,” Traut said.
“The right of people to protest peacefully is recognised, however lawlessness will not be tolerated and we will not hesitate to take decisive action to neutralise the situation.”
There were also reports of a bread truck being looted in Delft this morning.
Community activist from Bloemkombos in Kraaifontein, Linda Phito, said the driving force behind the ongoing protests is that people need basic services in informal settlements.
“The City of Cape Town, under the DA, is arrogant in terms of how to help those in need of service delivery.”
Phito said that since last year his organisation has been writing to the City to tackle the human settlements issue, “but even today the City doesn’t want to come together to see the way forward”.
“We understand in our country, and also the City, that the lack of land is a persistent issue. In Kraaifontein, they are supposed to be building housing, but our people are taking the land since being impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Phito said.
The EFF's Cape metro regional chairperson, Unathi Ntame, met with residents in Bloemkombos on Tuesday and said that the party understands why people are protesting and supports them.
“The community is not satisfied with the lack of services being delivered. The City does not want to give them the services they need. They keep appealing cases in courts that have have to do with occupied lands. These are people who could not afford the lands, and they lost everything due to the pandemic, and then they are forced to occupy the vacant spaces so that they can live with their children,” Ntame said.
Yesterday, @EFF_Cape_Metro RCT led by the Regional Chairperson held a community meeting with the people of Ward101, Bloekombos, Kraaifontein. The @CityofCT is refusing to give people toilets and water, basic human rights. We will make the comfortable uncomfortable. #EFFMustRise pic.twitter.com/dQ4414hNW6— EFF_Cape_Metro (@EFF_Cape_Metro) March 23, 2021
“The City wants to throw them out, and the EFF does not agree with the approach by the city. Their attitude has been disgusting. We say to the City that they must provide basic services like water. How can they miss the basic services? These people need a toilet. We say the City is wrong and they should continue to protest but do so peacefully.”
The City previously said that it respects the right of groups to protest, but condemns violence, criminality, thuggery and the destruction of public property and disruption to residents trying to go about their daily lives.
“Such actions move us backward, and civic organisations and political parties should not condone such behaviour.”
Mayco members for Water and Waste, Xanthea Limberg, and Human Settlements, Malusi Booi, refuted claims of not delivering basic services.
“The City continues to provide basic water and sanitation services, such as toilets and taps for water, to informal settlements across Cape Town where possible. Providing services is a challenge when due to unlawful occupation, residents settle on land that is not suitable for the installation of such services,” said Limberg.
“The City is also not allowed to install services on privately-owned land without permission and in these instances can only install services on the periphery, on City-owned land.
“The City will continue to work closely with ward councillors and informal settlement leadership structures to unlock additional opportunities for provision of basic water and sanitation, where it is possible to do so.”
Booi said that the City is unable to cater for these “numerous newly established communities that are demanding services”.