Angry Bonteheuwel residents chased award their ward councillor, Angus McKenzie, far left, and mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith out of a meeting with Police Minister Bheki Cele on Wednesday. Photo: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Emotions ran high at a meeting with Police Minister Bheki Cele when angry Bonteheuwel residents chased Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith and local ward councillor Angus McKenzie from the venue on Wednesday.

Cele met the angry residents and other communities following the Total Shutdown protest on Tuesday. The minister would not engage them before the local government officials agreed to leave the meeting.

“I was asked to come meet residents today who were involved in the Total Shutdown. I was not aware that I invited provincial government to this meeting, but I also could not let this meeting collapse after being asked to engage with the community,” Cele said.

Smith and McKenzie left the Bonteheuwel multi-purpose centre to the loud cheering and slurring from residents saying they “will not allow our trauma to be politicised”.

Total Shutdown organiser and representative Abdul Kareem Matthews likened communities such as Bonteheuwel, Manenberg, Bishop Lavis, Ottery and Kensington to “concentration camps”.

“Gangsters rule our communities and daily you live with the fear of being shot at and killed. Our children are recruited by gangsters who arm our youth and turn them into soldiers and killers.

“We will make no apologies for shutting down roads to our communities. We were accused of being agitators by Smith. We are not agitators, we are just very, very angry. This anger was born out of trauma we live with daily,” Matthews said.

The gathering heard of the plight of residents who said their children are “recruited by gangsters to become soldiers”.

Smith said he will address a press conference today on the current state of policing in the City. “We had been invited by SAPS, on behalf of the national minister.

“Strangely Minister Cele at first denied this and after being confronted with the email, acknowledged the invitation. He then asked myself and councillor McKenzie to leave the meeting.

“As Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security I had briefly hoped Minister Cele would be a different kind of minister from the failed politicos deployed in his position before him, all of whom had helped drive the SAPS into the ground.”

McKenzie said: “The actions of Cele today is a clear indication why he has ignored three open letters I sent to him regarding the policing situation in Bonteheuwel.

“The poor turnout at the illegal protest and even poorer turnout at the meeting is a clear indication that the people of Bonteheuwel and across the Cape Flats are seeing right through the political games the ANC is playing daily with the lives of our people.”

Cape Times