Vrygrond residents petrol-bombed the canteen at a dump site in Capricorn after a protest demanding land turned violent. Picture: Cindy Waxa/African News Agency (ANA)
Vrygrond community leaders have blamed criminals for the recent violence which resulted in shops being petrol bombed and looted.

Calm was restored in the area near Muizenberg after several businesses and municipal property were targeted by “criminal elements under the guise of the recent protest for a piece of land which forms part of the False Bay Nature Reserve”.

Vrygrond Development Forum member Michael Khumalo said any positive developments that may have come about from the protests have been hijacked by the criminal elements.

The area, known as Xakabantu land by the Vrygrond community, has been the target of land invasions which resulted in clashes between residents and police.

“These protests were not started by the forum but the people themselves, who are tired of the long wait for land. They began putting up structures, cutting off plots. 

"When the City demolished those, we tried to engage in order to have the matter resolved. The criminals have hijacked any goodwill that the people’s peaceful protests may have garnered,” said Khumalo.

He said the forum could not respond to the criminal activity as these were the actions of a small group that did not represent the Vrygrond community’s need for land.

The City’s Coastal Park, situated next to the land, was also targeted as three heavy machines, a quad bike and a staff canteen were set alight. Two premises at the Capricorn Business Park were also later set on fire.

Police spokesperson Andre Traut said that on Tuesday night more than 100 Vrygrond residents gathered during a service delivery protest.

“Several petrol bombs were thrown at businesses in Capricorn, causing damage to property. Police and law enforcement services were deployed to restore peace and maintain law and order. 

"At approximately 11pm the crowd dispersed and no further incidents of violence have been reported,” said Traut.

Cases of public violence had been opened. Police would remain in the area to monitor the situation, Traut added.

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