Witsand, Atlantis residents clashed with police in a violent protest yesterday. Seven people were arrested for public violence. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Seven people have been arrested following battles between protesting Atlantis residents and police yesterday.

The area remained on a knife-edge after residents blockaded the roads with burning tyres, rubble and other objects. Police used stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

Protesters are demanding that a community centre be built and an informal settlement electrified. Pamphlets informing residents of the protest were distributed, according to ward councillor Barbara Rass. 

“I do know what the protest is about, but do not have the facts,” she said.

Mayco member for Area North Suzette Little confirmed that the protest was related to a community centre the community had requested as part of a business project.

“Last year, an Atlantis company wanted to do electrification as part of their social responsibility project and wanted to be involved with three projects in the area, which the community was able to identify,” she said.

Little said one of the projects identified was the conversion of a structure in Witsand to a community centre.

“After getting quotes for the renovation, there was not enough funding available. The community wants this centre to be built, but there is no way this can happen if the plans have not been approved,” Little said.

Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said they would remain in the area until the situation was defused.

Cape Times