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‘Philippi is burning’: Violent unrest results in chaos, businesses closures

By News24 8 June 2018

Traffic on Govan Mbeki Road, between Stock Road and New Eisleben in Philippi, Cape Town, was disrupted by violent protests in the area after vehicles and business properties were set alight early on Friday morning.

Protesters set fire to an Albany truck containing 2 000 loaves of bread on Friday morning. No one was injured.

When News24 arrived at the scene, bread crusts and ash still littered the street while police monitored the removal of the torched truck from the scene.

Police said the driver of the truck was unharmed. When the truck driver’s daughter arrived to check on her father, they told her he had returned to the Albany factory in Bellville.

Cape Chamber of Commerce president Janine Myburgh said in a statement that the violence was related to land invasions and forced removals, and that businesses in the area had been unable to operate for the past two days.

“Protesters have invaded private premises and are wreaking havoc. Several business premises and vehicles are currently on fire,” she said.

Property owners were reluctant to discuss the damage done to their property out of fear of being targeted.

One small business owner said three vehicles belonging to his customers had been set alight.

The distraught businessman who asked not to be named said that his focus for the rest of the day would be on contacting his customers to inform them of the vandalism.

According to Myburgh, there has been no response from local and national government concerning the outbreak of violence.

“Local and national government have been approached, but with no result. Philippi is burning – are the authorities playing the fiddle like Nero did when Rome burned?” she said.

Recent tweets reveal Govan Mbeki Drive has been reopened.

Police spokesperson Andrè Traut said: “The housing-related protest which started in the area yesterday (Thursday) entered its second day when a group of approximately 75 protesters gathered to disrupt traffic and the peace. Our forces are deployed in the area to maintain law and order.”

No arrests had been made, he said.

By noon, calm had returned and Govan Mbeki Road was reopened. DM

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