Saturday, August 24, 2013
Cop crackdown on Cape N2 protests
Cape Town - Police fired stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse crowds that hurled rocks, glass bottles and rubbish onto the N2 in a protest that began shortly before 5pm, closing the road for more than three hours.
A police officer fires rubber bullets at protesters on the N2.
Photo: David Ritchie
The inbound lanes between Spine Road and Mew Way reopened at about 8pm.
With the normal rush hour traffic clogging up the outbound lanes and the inbound lanes being closed, traffic on the highway was more difficult than usual.
But provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa said it would have been worse had the protests been on the other side of the road.
“It wasn’t a major problem but we still had some backlog. We managed it.”
Motorists were diverted to the N1.
Residents of the Khayelitsha BM Section tipped four portable toilets over the concrete fence and were dragging them on to the highway’s inbound lane before police stopped them.
Two police Nyalas, along with other police vehicles, as well as traffic and law enforcement were deployed to the stretch of freeway to maintain order.
Police spokesman Colonel Thembinkosi Kinana confirmed that police had fired stun grenades into the crowd to disperse them, and said officers would remain into the area to maintain peace.
“I think the protest is service delivery related, but there seems to be some resistance from the people and we have sent more police to the area.”
Kinana said it was a difficult situation to police as people ran onto the road to throw rubbish and then ran back into the informal settlements.
“We have not arrested anyone as they go attack and then run back into the shacks. One car was damaged and the person is going to lay a charge.”
The residents stood on top of concrete toilets and threw stones at passing cars, media and police. They said they were fed up with their toilet situation and would not stop protesting until they saw results.
Nangamso Ntshutsha, in his mid-30s, said he had lived in the BM Section for most of his life and had seen little change: “If we had proper sanitation it would be so much better, but we don’t want proper sanitation here, we want it in proper houses like other people that have normal houses.”
Ntshutsha said they would meet again on Friday for another protest.
The N2, one of the two major arteries in an out of Cape Town, has been closed at least four times in the past two months, because of protests.