11 arrested after violence erupts in Cape Town protest

Eleven people have been arrested on suspicion of public violence in the aftermath of a protest on Jakes Gerwel Drive near Mitchells Plain, Cape Town on Wednesday.

Cape Town law enforcement spokesperson Wayne Dyason said clean-up services personnel were removing burning debris that protesters had used to block the road from early morning.

Jakes Gerwel and Highlands drives were still closed off as well as Weltevreden, Morgenster and Varkensvlei roads.

The protesters are believed to be from the nearby Siqalo informal settlement. The protest is apparently related to housing.

“All roads are closed. Two opposing factions are arguing about the violent means used to make their point. The situation could escalate,” said Dyason.

When News24 arrived at the scene, the protesters were in a meeting and some fires were still blazing on the side of the road.

‘This is apartheid’

Women dressed in nightgowns screamed at police officers who patrolled the entrance from Siqalo to the road.

They complained that they were not allowed to exit the informal settlement as the police were on the lookout for violent protesters.

Some young women pelted stones at an officer clad in riot gear and screamed: “This is apartheid. Why won’t you let us through?”

They quickly dispersed when an officer threatened them with arrest.

Earlier on Wednesday, an ATM at a Caltex petrol station and surrounding stores were damaged during the protest. A vehicle was also set alight.

A Siqalo resident, who was not part of the protests said, while they were in need of electricity and toilets, he did not agree with the way in which protesters were making their demands.

“The way they are doing this is wrong,” said Richard Kohlakana.

Mitchells Plain resident Yaseen Augustine, who also did not participate in the protest, said he was aware that the protest related to poor living conditions, service delivery and a lack of housing.

Other Mitchells Plain residents voiced their frustrations over roads being blocked.

“This is very dangerous for everyone. They were throwing stones at the cars,” one resident said.

“How can 400 people hold up the road for thousands of people who need to go to work?” DM


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