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Cape Town - A stretch of the N2 near Grabouw was closed on Monday morning after protesters threw stones and set oil alight on the highway.

But a Grabouw community organisation has criticised the violence - distancing itself from “criminals who are not part of our protests”.

The N2 was closed between the foot of Sir Lowry’s Pass and the foot of Houwhoek Pass, at Bot River.

The violence prompted provincial traffic police to shut down the full stretch of N2 on either side of the Elgin Valley. Buses were unable to leave the valley, including school buses which operate in the Somerset West area.

John Michaels, chairman of the Grabouw Elgin Civic Association, explained why they were marching: “It’s basically to have a march to hand over a memorandum. Two weeks ago we marched, but the mayor of Theewaterskloof, Chris Punt, was not there to receive it.

“Today we are marching again to tell him to come to the table, or he will have ongoing protests.”

About 4 000 residents assembled on Monday monring at the intersection of Grabouw’s main road and the Old Cape Road, and planned to march to the Grabouw municipal buildings at around 11am.

Asked what their demands were, Michaels said: “Grabouw is divided into areas, and each area has its own problems. But mainly crime, housing, the condition of the roads and the delivery of all municipal services.”

He slammed the violence on the N2, and said his protesters had nothing to do with them.

“I know nothing about the N2. That’s wrong, unacceptable, and we condemn it in strongest possible terms. The police must act against those responsible.”

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Cape Argus