News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Saturday February 16th 2019

Renewed Cape clashes between police, shack dwellers

Peter Luhanga

About 250 protesters from an informal settlement near Milnerton in Cape Town ran amok on Thursday (21/05/2009) night, digging up a portion of a busy road, burning tyres and stoning police.

Police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd and chased the protesters between the shacks of Doornbach informal settlement, home to about 10,000 people. Five people were arrested for public violence.

The outbreak of violence followed similar protests on Sunday night and a series of failed meetings between the City of Cape Town and representatives of the residents.

The residents are demanding that the city buy them land for housing along the N7 adjacent to nearby Du Noon township.

The protest is the fourth related to service delivery that has rocked Cape Town since April elections.

Doornbach informal settlement is situated on private land along Potsdam Road – the busiest road in the City’s northern regions.

Following Sunday’s protest city housing director Hans Smit met residents on Monday afternoon. Community leaders were selected to attend a meeting to resolve the problem at the Blaauwberg sub-council offices on Wednesday afternoon.

Smit said at the meeting the city’s “bigger plans in the area” had been explained to community leaders, but he said the leaders had come to the meeting expecting that they would “walk away with land”.

The land residents were demanding, Smit said, was zoned for industrial and other development purposes and was being sold for R180-million. He said the city did not have the money to buy this land.

However, some of the residents were going to be allocated RDP housing in Parklands in “two to three years”. He said the meeting had agreed to an upgrading of services in the informal settlement in the meantime.

But community members said when this information had been relayed to residents on Thursday evening they had been dissatisfied and taken to the streets.

Western Cape police spokesman Inspector November Filander said police had opened fire with rubber bullets “shortly after 7pm” and later arrested the five people.

Although the situation on Friday morning was calm, three private cars were stoned and had their windows smashed.

Potsdam Road was initially closed on Friday morning, but later opened for traffic.

Community leader Fezikile Lokotho, 35, said residents believed the city was “undermining them”. He said residents had vowed to continue digging up Potsdam Road until “someone of high authority” came to hear their concerns.

Interviewed on Thursday evening, Khanyisile Skeyi said he had been caught in the mayhem when coming from funeral prayers. He said a rubber bullet had grazed his ankle.

” I am very angry. Police were supposed to ask me where I was coming from, not just fire at innocent people,” said Skeyi. — West Cape News

Tags: doornbach, DuNoon

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