The N2 in Cape Town had to be closed on Sunday night and again this morning (Mon) due to informal settlement residents throwing human faeces at cars and burning debris on the motorway.
The incidents are the latest in the protests which began on June 4 over the City of Cape Town’s introduction of portable flush toilets in informal settlements.
Before sunrise scores of residents from Khayelitsha’s BM informal settlement, TR informal settlement and Taiwan informal settlement burnt tyres on the N2 and threw the contents of the portable toilets, as well as stones, at passing motorists.
The protesters said they were angered by police, whom they allege have been harassing them in their search for protesters who were released from Pollsmoor prison last weekend after having received bail in relation to charges pressed in the wake of protests over the last six weeks.
They said police barge into their community meetings looking for the protest leaders, among whom are ANC Proportional Councillor Loyiso Nkohla and former ANC councillor Andile Lili.
They were two of seven charged under the Civil Aviation Act and for public violence for allegedly dumping human waste in the Cape Town International Airport Terminal on June 25.
The protests on the N2 started on Sunday night after police came into to a media briefing called by the protesters in the Blue Hall in Khayelitsha.
Protesters got angry at the police and asked them to wait outside the hall.
After the media briefing protesters were seen leaving in groups while police were waited outside the community hall.
Shortly thereafter, garbage and tyres were being burnt on the N2.
Spokesperson for the ‘poo protesters’ task team, Sithembele Majova, said sanitation formed part of “basic and essential services” and the protests that had occurred so far were “just a start”.
“If our demands are not met we will make the province ungovernable,” said Majova.
He said there was land available that could be serviced and on to which informal settlement residents could be moved.
Despite bail conditions imposed by the courts on those facing charges of public violence for dumping faeces at municipal buildings, Majova said protesters would not be bound by the court’s conditions as they believed the conditions were “racist”.
Majova said police should focus on fighting gangsterism and leave faeces protesters alone.
”We are not criminals, we’re only fighting for our rights. Some of our members we asked to lead the poo protests today can not attend our meetings because they are been harassed by the cops. Gangsterism is escalating while they’re using state resources looking to arrest Lili and Nkohla,” he said.
He said protesters were planning a march to the National Prosecuting Authority to demand charges of violating the Civil Aviation Act be withdrawn against those arrested in the wake of faeces being dumped at the Cape Town International Airport.
Meanwhile, 181 protesters are expected to appear in the Cape Town Regional Court on Friday.
Provincial police spokesperson Andre Traut, confirmed yesterday morning’s protest and said police members have been deployed to the N2 near Khayelitsha to monitor a service delivery related protest. – Nombulelo Damba