Cape Town protests escalate, resulting in five arrests

According to the olice there were protests in Steenberg, Bishop Lavis, Lwandle, Eerste River, Kraaifontein, Mitchells Plain, Mamre, Delft, Bellville, and South Atlantis.

Five people were arrested in Steenberg and in Jakes Gerwel Road in Bishop Lavis, Cape Town after protesters burnt tyres and barricaded roads on Monday morning.

By around 7.20am, there was a report of one incident of stone-throwing.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said there were protests in Steenberg, Bishop Lavis, Lwandle, Eerste River, Kraaifontein, Mitchells Plain, Mamre, Delft, Bellville, and South Atlantis.

“SAPS (South African Police Service) members with metro police and traffic services are busy opening closed roads. Small groups are gathering in some areas,” said Potelwa.

This comes after calls for protest action by a group called Gatvol Capetonian.

Gatvol Capetonian, which is a self-described pressure group, said it would shut down the city in an attempt to highlight the plight of backyard dwellers, News24 previously reported.

In a statement on its Facebook page, the group said it shut Cape Town down in August 2019 and would do the same on Monday because nothing had been done to improve the lives of backyarder dwellers.

“Over the past year, our situation has gotten worse and we are nowhere near a solution. People are still being evicted and thrown to the streets during this time of natural disaster, with no concern for their health and safety,” the statement read.

“We will keep shutting down until we are heard and until [action] is taken in alleviating the above issue.”

The statement further indicated that communities from at least 15 areas were expected to participate and that major roads across the city would be closed between 5am and 11am on Monday.

City of Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato called on law enforcement officials to quash a planned “shutdown”.

“It cannot be that a so-called ‘shutdown’ is announced and promoted in advance by opportunistic political groupings, who plan to infringe on the rights of residents,” Plato said in a statement.

“I call on the SAPS to prevent those intending to terrorise law-abiding residents [on Monday]. I have written to the Western Cape [police] commissioner, urging a coordinated law enforcement response to protect residents.”

Potelwa said: “The SAPS in the Western Cape has noted with concern reports on social media from a grouping that threatens to shut down certain parts of Cape Town, including major freeways and access roads. The reports… are a cause for concern as they are likely to impact on the lives of ordinary citizens. It is on this basis the management of the SAPS in the province has undertaken to mobilise resources within the SAPS and other law enforcement agencies under the auspices of the ProvJoints to curb acts of lawlessness. In the same breath, sporadic incidents of public violence that have taken place in various parts of the Cape Town metropole remain a troubling aspect for law enforcement agencies.

Stern warning

“It is on this basis the SAPS in the Western Cape is issuing a stern warning to all communities to respect the rule of law. Cape Town, just like the rest of the country, is still under lockdown in terms of the Disaster Management Act. Alert Level 3 of the lockdown has restrictions that everyone needs to observe and abide by. Gatherings are still prohibited under lockdown. The SAPS wishes to reiterate, public violence remains an offence that is punishable by law,” Potelwa said.

“The forces on the ground will not hesitate to take decisive action should people embark on unlawful conduct.”

She added that various SAPS units, as well as the City of Cape Town’s metro police and traffic services, were on high alert.

“We remain committed to ensuring that all citizens of the Western Cape are and feel safe.”

Potelwa said more information would be provided as the situation unfolded.

The Citizen