‘We will shut down the airport’
Cape Town - Residents of informal settlements in Gugulethu have threatened to shut down the N2 and cut off traffic going in and out of Cape Town International Airport.
On Thursday, residents from ward 40, which includes Europe, Kanana and Barcelona, announced details of an operation dubbed Siyaqhuba (“moving forward” in Xhosa).
Community leaders will SMS the key word “Siyaqhuba” to the community who will mobilise and head to the N2 and the airport.
“By closing down the airport we will be hitting the city where it hurts. International investors won’t be able to enter the city and tourism will take a knock. We have been calling on MEC for Human Settlements Bonginkosi Madi-kizela and Premier Helen Zille to listen to our grievances, and they don’t listen… this is the only solution,” said community leader Thanduxolo Themba.
But Zille said that making these threats was a crime and any attempt to carry them out would be met with the full force of the law.
Another community leader, Mongami Mbele, said their main needs were houses with decent toilets. “We are in pain from living in shacks that are stripping us of our human dignity. It can’t get worse than this,” he said.
Thursday’s meeting at the Barcelona informal settlement was also attended by the ANCYL Dullah Omar region members Menzi Manyonga and Loyiso Nkohla, who were invited by the community leaders. At the meeting they rubbished claims by Zille and Mayor Patricia de Lille that they were responsible for the wave of protests that have hit the Cape in the past two months.
Mbele denied that they are driven by the ANCYL or any political party to protest.
Zille said the most effective way to destroy jobs, increase unemployment and poverty and chase away new investors was for violent protesters to close down a highway and cut of the city’s airport.
Police spokesman Warrant Officer November Filander said extra police and other law enforcement have been deployed around the city to monitor protest hotspots, including the N2 along the airport area for a possible eruption.