CAPE TOWN, April 11 – The Western Cape Community Safety MEC Alan Winde, has called for the swift arrest of the instigators of a protest which saw chaos in Khayelitsha near Cape Town on Thursday morning.
Tyres and rubble were set alight, blocking roads in and out of the area and causing huge traffic delays on the N2 highway into the city. The protests resulted in Khayelitsha being declared a no-go zone for public transport operators such as MyCiti and Golden Arrow buses, leaving many children unable to get to school and employees being unable to get to work. The local health clinic was also closed.
“This action has affected many innocent people, school children, those in need of medical assistance and employees. The names and contact details of the organisers of this action have been sent to me by the community. I have passed these details on to provincial commissioner, Lieutenant General (Khombinkosi) Jula, and call on him to put every effort into their swift arrest,” said Winde.
“I have little doubt that their motives are political, with less than a month to go until the election, violent- and narrow-minded political parties are trying every desperate trick in the book to disrupt our communities. What they are doing, however, is hurting the very people they are purporting to serve. These tactics, which have been taken too far, have never worked. These thugs belong behind bars, not on our ballot papers,” he added.
According to Winde’s office, there has been a rapid increase in the number of protests since the beginning of the year. Statistics obtained from SAPS show that between January 1 and March 30, there were 325 incidents to which Public Order Policing responded. This increased from 91 in January, to 109 in February, to 125 in March. Protests in Cape Town alone jumped from 11 in January to 23 in March, while the rural town of Caledon experienced a combined total of eight protests.
During this period, it has also been revealed that 156 people were arrested, for amongst others, damage to property and public violence.
“The rapid rise in protest action, particularly violent incidences, is of huge concern. It is alleged that political parties are at the forefront of these protests, transporting people from one community into another, with the sole aim of disrupting the area’s daily activities. I call on the police to investigate these claims, and should they emerge to be true, the instigators must be arrested and face the full might of the law. I urge community members to not be used by unscrupulous characters,” Winde said. (ANA)