Zane Galant is one of the residents who was shot in the face by police as they fired rubber bullets during the protest which erupted early this week in Kleinmond. Picture: BHEKI RADEBE/ANA
Cape Town - Community members in Proteadorp, Kleinmond, have laid the blame for violence in the area in the past week at the feet of police, accusing cops of “heavy-handed tactics” and of provoking them.

The seaside town was turned into a war zone as protesters and the police clashed following what was meant to be a peaceful march.

One person was arrested for firing live ammunition into the air, protesters and police exchanged stones and rubber bullets, and a municipal vehicle was torched.

On Monday about 500 residents gathered on an open field in Proteadorp, planning to march to the Kleinmond municipal offices to hand over a memorandum of grievances.

At issue are a lack of housing in the area, inadequate graveyard space, a shortage of schools and a town cleaning tender that was awarded to a Zwelihle resident in Hermanus.

Kleinmond has only two primary schools and there are no high schools. Older pupils have to travel to Grabouw, Hermanus, Hawston and Caledon to attend high school. Travel expenses can amount to R700 a month.

Residents are awaiting feedback from the MEC for finance Ivan Meyer on September 30. No further protests are planned and yesterday the area was calm.

Residents told Weekend Argus that as soon as they gathered for their March on Monday, police blocked their way down Kleinmond main road towards the municipal offices.

Running battles between protesters and police broke out. Further protests took place over the rest of the week.

Resident Andia Barry said police used profanity in what she claimed was the police’s attempt to provoke them when they gathered to “peacefully march and hand over our list of demands".

Her house was where police made their stand against the stone-pelting protesters. When Weekend Argus visited Barry’s house yesterday, several spent rubber bullet cartridges were lying on the ground and there was also a container filled with rubber bullets.

A collection of fired rubber bullets from the protest. Picture: BHEKI RADEBE/ANA

“The next morning my children and I had to pick up pizza boxes and cooldrink bottles left behind by police in my yard,” said Barry.

“The police ran through my house and almost knocked my child to the ground.”

She also claimed police had destroyed her boundary fence.

Another neighbour, who did not want to be identified, showed us a purple bruise on her buttock where she was hit by a rubber bullet.

Community leader Basil Swartz told Weekend Argus that their white neighbours across the road taunted them.

Swartz said: “We held a meeting on Monday night and it was decided that the protest would be halted, and on Tuesday morning, while people went to work, they were fired on by police for no reason,” said Swartz.

Christa Lewis was hit by a rubber bullet in the arm while standing in a neighbour’s yard. Picture: BHEKI RADEBE/ANA

“Kleinmond is still very racist,” said Swartz.

One resident told Weekend Argus: “I support their demands but not the violence.”

Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said two cases of public violence had been made and four people were arrested.

Van Wyk confirmed that a member of the community shot live rounds into the air, and a case of discharging a firearm was opened and the man was arrested.

A municipal vehicle was set alight but no injuries were reported in that incident.

A journalist was also assaulted by the protesters and he sustained head injuries.

A case of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm was registered for investigation.

Van Wyk said the SAPS and other law enforcement agencies were still in the area monitoring the situation.

Weekend Argus