South Africa: Calm Slowly Returns to West Coast Towns After Protests

Polar Park, Port Elizabeth residents block Ndzotoyi Street, demanding to be relocated to municipal serviced sites.
analysis

A meeting between West Coast role players has potentially ended a six-day service delivery protest that led to a nine-year-old boy being shot in the head.

Roads in Laingville were reopened on Wednesday night after a meeting between Heinrich Mettler, municipal manager of Saldanha Bay Municipality, and community leaders from Laingville, Steenberg Cove and Stompneusbaai.

The meeting was facilitated by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). Police along with attorneys from the SAHRC also attended the meeting that came in the wake of Western Cape Human Rights Commissioner Chris Nissen's visit to the volatile Cape West Coast areas on Tuesday 4 August.

This potentially brings an end to a six-day service delivery protest which resulted in the wounding of nine-year-old Leo Williams in Laingville on Friday 31 July. The Grade 2 learner was wounded in the head, with residents claiming that the police shot him, but the SAPS denying it.

A bullet lodged in the child's brain is a crucial piece of evidence that will determine who fired the shot and who will be criminally charged. His condition remains critical but stable, at the Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town.

His legal guardian, Cathy Thomas, said doctors hope...

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