31 July 2012

South Africa: Protests Herald Start to Cape Town's Working Week

Photo: WCN
Protests (file photo): A wave of protests rocked the Cape Peninsula and the ruling ANC and its youth branch rejected claims that it was responsible for service delivery violence.

A Golden Arrow bus was torched and traffic lights at the corner of Duinefontein and Lansdowne Roads in Philippi destroyed as residents of Sweet Home farm in Philippi engaged in violent protest yesterday morning.

Before dawn over 100 residents were burning tyres and threw buckets of faeces on the roads as they demanded electricity and proper toilets in their area. Duinefontein street also became flooded after protestors damaged a fire hydrant.

Police used rubber bullets to quell the protest.

"We want electricity, toilets. This area has not been serviced. We had a similar protest before and City promised to look at our demands, but nothing has happened" said resident Ntombizodwa Fente.

Stones were also thrown at passing trains and traffic was diverted as law enforcement officials closed roads in the area.

A resident who was not involved in the protest said stones where thrown at her as she tried to make her way to public transport so she could get to work, and protestors threatened to take away her belongings.

"They said the protest is for the whole area and everyone must be part of it."

Another resident who lives next to the Nyanga railway line, Amanda Sonke, said she was woken up by the sound of stones being thrown at the trains.

Provincial police spokesperson November Filander said nine people were arrested for public violence.

Speaking yesterday afternoon, Filander said: "Since 04:30 this morning a group of people gathered at the corners of Duynefontein and Lansdowne road in Manenberg, as well as Vanguard drive opposite Sweet Farm in Nyanga. They blockaded these specific routes by burning tyres. Police are on the scene monitoring the situation and also directing traffic to alternative routes."

Golden Arrow spokesperson Bronwen Dyke said the bus was completely burnt out and would cost R1.4m to replace.

"The driver was injured. He received facial lacerations because a stone came through the window and hit him on the face," said Dyke.

Police also had to step in at a clash in Manenberg where about 30 Proudly Manenberg residents marched to the Manenburg community centre demanding that United Democratic Front (UDF) chairperson Mario Wanza step down.

The group were confronted by a similarly sized group of UDF members who prevented them entering the centre, resulting in abuse being hurled by each group.

Proudly Manenberg members - are aligned with the UDF - accused Wanza of spending R10 000 of UDF funds to pay the bond on his own house.

"He's dividing us as the community of Manenberg. He's got money for clothing but he used it for himself. He has a political agenda and we do not want him," said Proudly Manenberg member Janeme Sidloyi as UDF t-shirts were symbolically set alight.

Protesters left after they were told that Wanza is in Pretoria.

His Vice chairperson Richard Matthee said three people who were kicked out of the UDF organised the Proudly Maneburg protest.

"They were fired from the UDF because of mis-using funds, now they come and say they have a vote of no confidence against Wanza and us. We are not going to step down," said Matthee.

He said Wanza was in Pretoria preparing an official launch of the UDF in August.

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