West Coast resort, community hall torched
Cape Town – A resort and a community hall were among the properties torched, allegedly by angry protesters, during a service delivery protest in Laingville on the West Coast this week.
Laingville community leader Thyrone Williams said the protest on Wednesday followed a meeting with the municipality regarding land, at which residents proposed that the municipality give them 150 plots for a period of three years.
He said the municipality rejected the proposal. “They said they could only give us 10 plots for now. So we gave feedback to the community on Tuesday evening and they said they will start with the protests.
’’On Wednesday morning, people started with the protest and it didn’t go well because some of our guys were shot and one guy was arrested while on his way from work. He was charged with public violence and attempted murder,” he said.
Williams said residents had vowed to return to the streets and protest if he was not released soon.
“The SA Human Rights Commission’s (SAHRC) commissioner was here because the municipality said they will not talk to us any more. The commissioner was here to talk to the community and see what he could do to get the guy released,” he said.
SAHRC commissioner Chris Nissen said he had visited the area yesterday and was planning to set up a meeting between the municipality and residents.
“There was one person arrested and allegedly assaulted as well; we are trying to get him out on bail. I asked the community to give me an opportunity to speak to the municipality.
’’I also asked them to give me a chance to get the person arrested out on bail. When I left, the people were burning tyres. I told them publicly that I condemn the criminal elements,” Nissen said.
“They allegedly burnt down a resort and a community centre. It’s completely irresponsible and wrong, and I have warned them.”
Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said: “St Helena police arrested a 50-year-old for public violence. Once he has been charged, he will appear in court.”
The Saldanha Bay Municipality had not responded to questions by deadline.