Violent protests, ostensibly over the City’s intention to supply portable flush toilets to residents of Khayelitsha’s YAB informal settlement, entered their second week yesterday, with three people having been arrested.
After flaring up on Sunday last week, protests involving burning tyres and rubbish, and blocking Khayelitsha’s Pama Road with an empty shipping container, continued throughout the week.
Protesters took matters one step further yesterday by digging a trench across Pama Road, and were dispersed by police who fired rubber bullets at them.
The protest started over a week ago after a community leader received an email from the City of Cape Town stating their intention to deliver portable flush toilets – which were the source of the faeces protests which saw informal settlement residents emptying raw sewerage on the steps of public buildings and at the Cape Town International Airport last month – to the area.
However, YAB settlement residents are now demanding they be moved to a better area and basic services, including sanitation, be provided to them.
Yesterday residents were up at 3am to dig up Pama Road. They said if they accept the portable flush toilets, the City of Cape Town will never relocate them.
”We are living in risky conditions. People are being robbed everyday. We do not have speed bumps (along Pama Road and) five shacks were hit by cars last week,” said a protester who would only give her name as Nokuthula.
She said residents were tired of empty promises and hoped that their protest would force city authorities to listen to them.
YAB settlement resident Unathi Mabengwane they had been living in the informal settlement for 20 years. Besides not having any basic services, he said crime was such that people were attacked and robbed in their own homes but police did nothing about it.
Mabengwane said residents’ anger was sparked by the City of Cape Town’s intention to provide portable flush toilets.
”We want to show the City of Cape Town that we do not want these ‘potta-potta’ toilets. We demand houses and proper toilets. The area has about 300 shacks with 11 toilets. We are forced to share them because the City kept on telling us that there is no space (for more toilets0. All we want is to be moved from here,” he said.
Despite three people having been arrested, protesters said they won’t stop. — Nombulelo Damba