Cape Town - A week of land invasions escalated to an attack on a prominent Gugulethu businessman's eatery.
Tensions boiled over when people protesting over land torched a car, looted a shop and caused an unknown amount of damage to Mzoli’s.
NY 108 in Gugulethu was the scene of violent protests on Sunday after residents claimed that a shopping centre would be built on the land on which Mzoli’s was operating.
Residents have been protesting for more than a week over the lack of adequate land for them to build houses on. Illegal structures were erected and subsequently demolished by the City’s anti-land invasion unit.
Backyarders took to the streets last week, barricading Klipfontein Road and NY 108 with burning debris, stones and bus shelters.
Police spokesperson Andrè Traut confirmed that police were out in force yesterday quelling tensions, and that cases of public violence were being investigated.
Councillor Sharon Manata said the violence was sparked after the removal of residents who had illegally reoccupied a piece of land in wards 41 and 40.
She said residents in the area had been complaining about the availability of houses.
“The residents did not follow the legal processes to occupy that land After a number of shacks were demolished on Thursday we had a meeting with protesters and an agreement was reached. We told them to give us a time frame of 14 days to investigate who were the owners of the land they were occupying. We are outraged and disappointed by this violence,” Manata said.
Mayor Patricia de Lille was today due to address the community, Manata said.
Sisanda Ngcawuzele, the daughter of Gugulethu businessman Mzoli Ngcawuzele, said an SBV cash transit company vehicle and two ATMs were torched outside the shop during yesterday’s violence.
“We will reopen (today) because there is no damage inside. Three employees from SBV were here to service the ATMs when it was set alight. I don’t understand the mentality of these people and it is really sad, the same community that requested ATMs to assist elderly people have burned them down. I am also angry at law enforcement, this could have been prevented when I called them but they said it was too violent for them,” Ngcawuzele said.
She said the shop was targeted because her father owned a piece of land which was earmarked for a shopping centre.
Nozinga’s Market next to Mzoli’s was completely looted and only the frame of the door glass remained.