MEC denounces Grabouw ‘guerilla tactics’
Grabouw - Western Cape community safety MEC on Tuesday described the rioting, stone throwing and violence in Grabouw as organised guerrilla-type tactics that were causing the police frustration and made their task of restoring order very difficult.
Speaking at a section of the N2 in Grabouw that had been blocked off by police, Plato said he had decided to visit the area to see first-hand what was happening.
“According to our information there are three large groups responsible for the violence in Grabouw and moving in different directions to cause problems,” he told a Sapa correspondent.
“This is a headache for the police and causing endless frustration.”
He said African National Congress leaders were also at the scene.
Plato spoke to Overberg ANC regional leader, Wilfred Herman, about looking for a solution.
“A meeting will be held at the Grabouw police station later this afternoon to determine exactly what the reasons behind the rioting are.
“I hope we will find a way to end the violence before tonight,” said Plato.
Plato asked Herman to invite John Michels and Margaret le Roux, chairman and secretary of the Grabouw Civic Organisation (GCO) to the meeting.
They were the main organisers of the service delivery protests on Monday.
Michels denied any involvement in the riots.
A police team of negotiators were also ready to attend the meeting.
“I will not necessarily attend as I do not want to be seen to be interfering,” Plato said.
As Plato was speaking, about 30 police officers formed a line along the N2 standing individually at intervals from the Eskom turnoff at Pineview North to a bend just before The Orchards Farm Stall.
Two Nyalas were patrolling the highway.
Rubber bullets and teargas was being fired at regular intervals to prevent stone throwers from returning to the N2.
At one stage a stun grenade was also used.
The SA National Roads Agency Limited's teams of road workers were trying to clear the debris of rock and burning tyres left from the morning's protests.
After the police fought back around 1000 protesters gathered on a hill in the Siteview township not far from the N2.
They were shouting insults at police, throwing stones, chanting, and toy-toying.
Another large group had gathered on a steep hill right next to the N2 close to The Orchards Farm Stall.
They were stoning the police and the Nyalas as they passed on the N2 below them.
Some of them had makeshift plastic shields to defend themselves against the rubber bullets.
A motorist in Somerset West who travelled from Hermanus said the traffic on the road from Kleinmond was chaotic.
“It is the only road we can use because of the closure at Grabouw.
“It is taking us hours longer to get to our destination. The road is crowded with trucks and most of the time we were driving at about 20 km/h,” he said.