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WATCH: Tafelsig residents defy lockdown to show their anger at being sidelined for aid

Published Apr 14, 2020


Cape Town - Three men have been arrested for public violence after frustrated residents of Tafelsig in Mitchells Plain attacked police officers who were responding to reports of tyres being burnt.

On arrival at the scene, in Langeberg and Kilimanjaro streets and AZ Berman Drive, police found a large gathering of between 500 and 1 000 people according to police spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk.

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"According to reports the community of Tafelsig East were upset that the community of Tafelsig West had been handed 150 food parcels by the (ward) councillor the previous day (Monday)," said Van Wyk.

The crowd started throwing stones at the police officers, he said, and the scene was handed over to Public Order Policing who took action to disperse the crowd. Other law enforcement agencies in attendance were City of Cape Town Law Enforcement, the SANDF and the Mitchells Plain SAPS Cluster Lockdown Team, Van Wyk said.

Video: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

The three males aged 18, 20 and 17 years old respectively face a charge of public violence. They are expected to soon appear in court.

Video: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Tafelsig resident Liesl Manuel explained that residents were frustrated because no food parcels had been handed out to anyone since the start of the national lockdown which is in its 19th day. 

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"We've been given a number where people can phone for a food parcel. It's a toll free number. People have done it (callled the number), they get a reference number and they get told that within a week's time the (Western Cape) Department of Social Development will contact you back and do what needs to be done. Up until today, three weeks into lockdown, nobody in this area where we are standing now has received one food parcel," Manuel said.

Liesl Manuel from Tafelsig in Mitchell's Plain explains the reason for the unrest in the area on Tuesday. Video: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

"When a mom doesn't have anything to feed to her seven children you become frustrated, and this is what happened here today."

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Manuel said the sight of an elderly man, accompanied by his three children, carrying a board saying that the children were hungry made people realise that everyone is feeling the same way. 

She said that the community, most of whom are completely dependent on social welfare grants, felt let down by authorities who placed them in lockdown with no means to sustain themselves and their families and no aid being provided.

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Yolanda Geldenhuys, a community activist in Mitchell's Plain, wants the shebeens and taverns to reopen so that people can earn money to buy food for their children. Video: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Community activist Yoldanda Geldenhuys called on government to allow shebeens to operate so that people had a means of earning an income to provide food for their families.

Maxine Bezuidenhout, Senior Inspector with the City of Cape Town Law Enforcement confirmed earlier this afternoon that road closures were in place in Tafelsig during the protest.

Accessing the food relief programme

For donation requests or offers please call the Western Cape government's food relief programme on 0860 142 142 between 7 am and 4 pm daily, send a Please Call Me to 079 769 1207, or email [email protected]

The criteria for qualifying for the department's food programme.

If a family is in dire need of assistance and the above number doesn't yield results please contact [email protected] with the following information:

* Name & Surname of the person/s requiring assistance

* ID number

* Address

* Contact number

* Family size and breakdown

* Short reason for request.