Cape Town - A man has died, a truck was torched and another pelted with rocks and a section of the N2 closed as violent protests continued in Khayelitsha on Monday night.
“One driver was attacked by protesters in TR Section near Mew Way, but managed to escape,” police spokesman November Filander said.
Police later found an injured man near one of the trucks. “We don’t know whether he was hit by the truck or if he was attacked. He died shortly afterwards.”
The N2 between Spine Road and Mew Way was closed after vehicles were stoned and police used water cannons to disperse protesters. Police also fired rubber bullets when a protester fired live rounds at them, Filander said.
Khayelitsha community leader, Morris Sifo, said the attacks by demonstrators were sporadic. They disappeared between shacks when police fired rubber bullets and sprayed water cannons, he said
Earlier in the day major roads, including the N2, were gridlocked when eight separate protests erupted in Khayelitsha, Philippi and Sir Lowry’s Pass Village. Some were flare-ups of protests on Sunday night.
The city’s disaster management spokesman, Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, said protests began on Sunday after 9pm on the N2 near Mew Way, Khayelitsha, where tyres were set alight on the road.
An hour later, burning barricades were erected at the Lansdowne and Duinefontein roads intersection in Philippi. After the fire was extinguished and the authorities left, about 200 people scattered rubbish on the road.
Solomons-Johannes said police returned and fired rubber bullets to disperse the group. But the protesters regrouped on Weltevreden and Vanguard Drive where they stoned a Metro Police vehicle.
“At 4.30am, a lamp post was removed… The officers fired at the protesters. Three persons have been arrested by the [Metro Police] and another five by the SAPS for public violence,” Solomons-Johannes said. Mew Way and Bonga Drive in Khayelitsha were the epicentre of Monday’s daytime protests when about 350 people blockaded the roads.
The residents, from the BM Section, began their protest about houses and sanitation at 4am. They stoned vehicles and the police while rocks and tyres were strewn on the roads.
Sifo said residents had been living in dire conditions since 1987. “Our people struggle each and every day to make ends meet. Most of the people here [protesting] do not have jobs, but we try to make a living. It is not fair that we have to live in these conditions while other parts of the area receive continuous upgrades.”
Protesters stoned a train travelling from Khayelitsha en route to the city and set tyres alight on the tracks, forcing the train to stop.
“We will continue to fight for our most basic rights. [Premier] Helen Zille and [mayor] Patricia de Lille must stop blaming the ANC for all this. They have nothing to do with this,” Sifo said.
Near Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, about 80 residents placed tyres and rocks on the N2 shortly after 3am..
The residents were protesting about flooded shacks. Community leader Aubrey Mofama said they had given the city until Monday to respond to a letter they had sent to the city and province.
Filander said 10 people were arrested for public violence and would appear in the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
Golden Arrow Bus Services spokeswoman Bronwyn Dyke said a driver was injured when stones were thrown at his bus in Khayelitsha. Four other buses were also stoned. - Cape TImes