People protesting under the banner of "Gatvol Capetonians" blockaded the Stellenbosch Arterial with burning tyres claiming this is their last option to be heard. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - Several roads in the City were affected by “Total Shutdown” protests in the early hours of Thursday morning. 

Cape Town Traffic Services spokesperson Richard Coleman said: “Protest action in Delft Main and both directions on Stellenbosch Arterial closed roads and tyres were set alight.” 

Coleman said protest action also took place in Voortrekker Road, Kensington and in the Bo-Kaap.

Civic group Gatvol Capetonians fulfilled their promise to barricade major roads and intersections in the City from 5am to 11am to protest against housing shortages.

Member Fadiel Adams said: “This is about housing across the province. We are giving the City and the state an ultimatum that if they don’t have a solution for the housing crisis there will be consequences.” 

Adams came under attack during a radio interview from callers who objected to not being able to go to work.

“I do feel for the people that will be inconvenienced by this but I expect the middle class to understand what the poor go through on a daily basis they would not understand their frustration,” Adams said. 

He also said that he did not advise the communities who would be protesting how to demonstrate,

“I have made it very clear that nothing more than burning tyres will be tolerated. We will not throw stones, harass people in their cars none of that will happen,” he said.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said he was aware of the “shut down”.

“We have had no direct engagement with the organisers, so we cannot predict the extent to which the shutdown will be supported and what impact there will be. However, the City will provide any support to the SAPS that may be required around road closures, impact on traffic and other public safety measures that are required. SAPS is the lead agency in terms of public order policing.”

He said he respected the right to protest, but called on the participants to respect the rights of others

“We do not believe it is helpful to limit mobility to already vulnerable communities as nothing is achieved by that. Such a protest simply harms the community one claims to be wanting to help and further disincentives investment and job creation in that community,” Smith said. 

Western Cape Human Settlements MEC Tertius Simmers said the “shutdown” by certain Cape Town residents should not infringe on the rights of others.

“Backyard dwellers should know that I’ve heard their pleas and it is for this reason that at the end of June 2019, I issued an executive directive to all municipalities in the province, to include backyarders in their housing allocation criteria,” Simmers said.

Narema Salie, from Parkwood talks about her participation in the protest by civic group Gatvol Capetonians. Video: Tracey Adams/African News Agency

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Cape Argus