Police during a land protest in Lwandle, Strand. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA).

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Community Safety MEC Alan Winde on Friday welcomed the arrest of 20 protesters in Lwandle in Strand outside Cape Town for incident of public violence, and further called on the police to arrest the instigators of protests in Khayelitsha.

“I understand from the provincial department of education that 21 schools were closed, with around 25,000 learners not attending class due to fears for their safety. This infringement on the rights of our children is shocking,” Winde said in a statement.

Cape Town and parts of South Africa have been rocked by community protests in recent days which have descended into violence and looting as residents of mainly informal settlements take to the streets to voice their grievances, this just less than a month before general elections.

“The provincial department of health reports that the Nomzamo Community Day Centre in Strand is still closed as staff are unable to get to work. This means that the 375 patients that frequent this facility daily are not able to receive necessary services.”

On Thursday, several roads were closed along the N2 highway near Cape Town as protests turned violent and police and law enforcement agencies flooded volatile areas, arresting at least eight people. The City of Cape Town reported that protests had erupted in Khayelitsha up to Somerset West near Sir Lowry's Village, with reports of looting and stoning of vehicles.

Over 1,000 Lwandle community members reportedly participated in the service delivery protest and looting of businesses was reported. In Khayelitsha, protesters were burning tyres in the Harare and Lingelethu policing precincts.   

“EMS was challenged in transferring patients from primary health care facilities to hospital, while the Khayelitsha Hospital had to function on skeleton staff. I commend the staff of our public facilities, who, despite all the difficulties, kept services going at the hospital.

“We have tragically already lost two lives during protest action in Caledon. We are facing a situation in which more lives could be lost as a result of immoral protest organisers. This irresponsible, thug-like behaviour and action must stop immediately,” said Winde.

African News Agency (ANA)