Rubber bullets and stun grenades: Land protests in Cape Town intensify
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Cape Town - Bloekombos and Wallacedene backyard dwellers once again took to the streets on Sunday morning to protest the removal and confiscation of their informal housing structures by the City’s Law enforcement officers.
The tension within the Kraaifontein community was palpable as gunshots and sirens filled the air as the ongoing fight between displaced backyard dwellers and the police intensified.
Tygerberg racecourse, a local entertainment venue that is popular in the community was caught in the crossfire with several of its structures and equipment set alight, whilst police officers tried to disperse the angry crowd.
A Bloekombos backyard dweller who did not want to be named, said that he had to look for alternative accommodation after he could no longer afford to pay his rent, due to his work hours being cut short to accommodate lockdown regulations.
He further said that he and other community members had approached his local councillor for help as they had no other options than to leave the properties of their landlords.
“We had to move, but we had nowhere else to move as we do not have the money to rent. That’s why we decided to move to an empty field behind a local school. There was space there and we were not infringing on anyone,” he said.
Kraaifontein councillor Brenda Hansen said that her office and the Kraaifontein sub-council had received no complaints or requests from the protesting homeless residents.
Hansen said: “No-one came to me or to the sub-council offices to request that we help them. However even if they had there is nothing that we can do to assist them. We cannot condone or ignore illegal land invasions, which is why the City will continue to remove illegal housing structures that will be placed on City Land”.
“Please be informed that POPS and other law enforcement agencies are policing a land invasion protest in Kraaifontein,” said Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana.
“According to information received, community members are burning tyres on the road and are participating in a protest after their shacks that were erected were demolished on Sunday morning, adding that no arrests had been made so far,” added Rwexana.