Parkwood residents blocked the M5 with burning tyres during a protest over housing. Photo: Tracey Adams / African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Parkwood remained on a knife-edge following the arrest of five people during a violent protest over housing.

The City said live rounds were fired at law enforcement and metro police staff when they intervened.

Voice of Parkwood chairperson Paul Philips said the protests flared up in the area nearly a year after “no progress was made” since their last housing protest.

“Residents are fed up after no progress was made since we were told that our housing needs would be addressed. The Parkwood community have exhausted all avenues to have our housing needs addressed, but still no progress has been made.

“We were told that a housing development is planned for the area, but this has not materialised even after memorandums were handed over and several meetings with the Housing Department were had,” Philips said.

But Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela said: “It’s elections, (so) many wannabe leaders are exploiting the plight of people. 

"It doesn’t take a month to build houses; we are busy with a statutory process to fulfil the commitment we made working with the committee from Parkwood.

“Those who are claiming nothing is happening are misleading the community. I will be calling a meeting there very soon to address the community. Parkwood and Greater Retreat are reflected in this year’s budget of my department.”

City law enforcement spokesperson Wayne Dyason said officers were threatened with bodily harm when they “assisted the Housing Department on the corner of Bruce and Edward roads in Ottery in a housing-related operation”.

“(The operation) involved the erection of illegal structures on property belonging to the provincial government of the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works. 

"This land is earmarked for much-needed housing in the area, and people had erected structures illegally on the land.

He said stones were thrown, and tyres and debris were burnt.

“Live rounds were fired at law enforcement and metro police staff members. Three arrests were effected. A case of trespassing was registered by the property owner.”

Cape Times