Monday, May 20, 2013

Protesters cause more Cape traffic chaos

Cape Town - Protests on the N2 on Monday morning resulted in traffic chaos for thousands of commuters as the inbound and outbound lanes were closed.

Nyanga residents staged a service delivery protest from early this morning.

The protesters burnt tyres at the Airport Approach intersection and littered the N2 with the contents of portable toilets and piles of burning rubbish.

The highway was closed at Airport Approach and at Borcherds Quarry. Police had not made any arrests at publication time.

City Traffic Services spokeswoman Inspector Maxine Jordaan said major delays were experienced on alternative routes because of the added influx of traffic. “The N2 is one of the main arterial routes into the city. If it is affected, the ripple effects extend to all detours, resulting in backlogs.”

The outbound lanes opened at 10.25 this morning, but the inbound lanes remained closed at publication time.

A group of workers contracted by the City of Cape Town cleared obstructions on the N2, including piles of human excrement.

Several callers to 567 CapeTalk this morning expressed frustration at police, who were seen to be “monitoring” the situation, but who did “nothing” to clear up the obstacles blocking the road.

Responding to the complaints, Cape Chamber of Commerce president Fred Jacobs suggested that the police consider employing more people and extend their mandate to “alleviate” such situations as quickly as possible.

Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andrè Traut defended the officers.

He said the police’s mandate was “monitoring” and ensuring that “law and order” was maintained.

“The waste needs to be dealt with carefully and professionally. Police are not equipped to provide this service and it is thus the city’s responsibility.”

Jacobs said this morning’s delays were “massively damaging to the city’s economy”.

“With the background of the recent bus strike, this is once again our… productivity.

“People are late for work and the added stress means that they will be less productive,” he said, suggesting that a spokesperson for the protesters needed to be accommodated by the city in order to avoid future protests.

However, the Cape Argus was unable to locate such a spokesperson this morning.

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