The Cape was hit with a wave of protests on Monday, July 27 as a result of a planned ‘total shutdown’ by local group Gatvol Capetonian. EWN reports that leaders called off the protest around 10am, however much unrest continued throughout the day, resulting in multiple arrests.

“After several run-ins between the police and protesters in several incidents of public violence on Monday morning, police arrested 25 suspects for a range of crimes including public violence and contravention of parts of the Disaster Management Act,” says South African Police Service (SAPS) representative Brigadier Novela Potelwa.

“Seven arrests were effected in Steenberg and Bishop Lavis for public violence as roads were barricaded with burning tyres and debris. Police deployments are still in place meanwhile stun grenades were used on Prince George Drive to disperse a group of protesters,” explains Potelwa.

Sporadic incidents of public violence were reported in Bellville South on Frank Lowe Avenue and in Greenlands that resulted in 12 persons being arrested.

“In Mamre, a group of about 200 protesters burned tyres on Silverstream Road and pelted police with stones. Police responded and six persons were apprehended. A police official was injured in the face during the commotion,” adds Potelwa.

Late yesterday, an additional 20 people were charged in Mamre for public violence and contravention of the Disaster Management Act, bringing the total arrests to 45.

Protesters took to the streets in support of the ‘Gatvol Captonian’ movement, which called for a total shutdown. On Sunday, July 26, the group released a statement explaining they are protesting over the plight of the “backyarders” in the Cape Flats. This is a continuation of a struggle they have been having since 2019, but they say little has changed since then.

“The memorandum we handed over has been blatantly ignored. The Backyarder Summit has only resulted in meetings upon meetings with the Human Rights Commission and City of Cape Town officials which also never amounted to anything,” they say.

“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 Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, calls on residents in the Western Cape to remain calm, refrain from public violence and adhere to the lockdown regulations.
“The destruction of public property impacts our poor and vulnerable residents the most and cannot be justified in a Constitutional Democracy. It is evident that a smaller group of inciters are leading these protests and pretending to speak for the masses. In doing so, they are preying on the plight of the most vulnerable in society who will suffer the infrastructure and services lost due to protest action. We must stand together and condemn such conduct whenever it occurs,” says Fritz.
“I have been informed that the SAPS in the Western Cape have mobilised safety resources to prevent lawlessness. SAPS, Metro Police and traffic services are on high alert. The Provincial SAPS have issued a stern warning to all communities to adhere to the rule of law, noting that gatherings are still prohibited under lockdown. Further, public violence is an offence punishable by law.”
Minister adds, “I call on anyone who has any knowledge of public violence and the conveners of such to immediately come forward and report such to their local SAPS. Alternatively, you can 08600 10111. Nobody has the right threaten the lives and livelihoods of others.”
Picture: Facebook / SAPS

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