Chaos erupted in Kraaifontein, Cape Town, on Tuesday afternoon when a group of people said to be angry about evictions damaged several shops and vehicles.
A clinic had to be closed and some City officials locked themselves in their offices.
Western Cape police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk confirmed four people were arrested for public violence after unrest in Wallacedene and the Kraaifontein central business district.
He said public order police dispersed the crowd.
Proportional representative councillor Xoliswa Pakela-Mapasa told News24 she had feared for her life when a group of rowdy people arrived at the local city depot.
While in her office, she heard stones being thrown.
Boardroom windows broken
“I peeked through the window and saw the security guys. I thought, let me lock myself in my office. I heard they were pushing the gate. There was something burning.
“I went underneath my desk.
“When they tried to break the door, I thought: they have got me now.”
She said everyone stayed in their offices and she felt a sense of relief when she heard sirens.
Law enforcement officials helped to escort them out of the building.
She said the windows in the boardroom were broken and there was apparently also damage to the town hall.
The protest is understood to be linked to evictions of people from vacant land in the area.
Pakela-Mapasa was made aware of evictions on Tuesday morning and received a message on Monday stating that people were protesting against the building of houses because they were not on the list of recipients.
She said illegal land occupations were very common in the area.
GroundUp reported last week that dozens of people had erected shacks on vacant land in Wallacedene after 361 people left homeless by demolitions.
Safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith said the City’s health department was forced to close the Wallacedene clinic on Tuesday because of the unrest.
“The facility manager’s office was stoned and the facility was closed after all emergency cases were assessed to ensure the safety of staff and patients,” he said.
Patients were referred to other clinics and traumatised staff will be referred for counselling.
Smith said they would decide on Wednesday morning whether it was safe to reopen the clinic.
“The City condemns violent attacks on our facilities and staff in the strongest terms. This was also an attack on some of our most vulnerable residents, those who are ill and infirm.”[Source: News24]