The G@tvol Capetonian movement has distanced itself from the violence seen during the Shutdown that it organized for Monday, claiming that criminal elements took advantage of what was intended to be a peaceful demonstration. Police confirmed at least 45 arrests, as stones were thrown and tyres and rubble set alight in roadways in nearly a dozen areas. Demonstrations related to housing, employment and service delivery continued on Tuesday.
Although the demonstration was intended to continue between 5am to 11am, founder of the G@tvol Movement Fadiel Adams told VOC news that the demonstration had been called off early due to fulfilling its purpose- awareness around the marginalization of so-called coloured communities. He expressed dismay that the demands of back-yard dwellers have been ignored for more than a year and that a memorandum, handed to Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato during another Shutdown in 2019, remained unheard and progress stagnant.
Police had fired teargas and stun grenades to disperse crowds, most notably along the N1 highway near Joostenberg Vlakte. Police confirmed deployments to areas including: Steenberg, Bishop Lavis, Lwandle, Eerste River, Kraaifontein, Mitchell’s Plain, Bellville South, Atlantis, Delft and Mamre. Some demonstrations, such as those in Parkwood, Ocean view and Delft, had however been ongoing since last week and related to housing and service delivery.
Community safety MEC Albert Fritz welcomed the 45 arrests made, which included for inciting public violence, further urging communities to engage in peaceful engagements. According to Fritz, seven arrests were made in Steenberg and Bishop Lavis, 12 in Bellville South; and 26 were made in Mamre and Atlantis.
Adams further denied allegations by the City of Cape Town, that the protest was an attempt to seek relevance ahead of the 2021 election, considering Adams position in the Cape Coloured Congress. Both Plato and the City’s Safety and Security directorate spokesperson JP Smith spoke out against Adams leading the demonstration, condemning the violence seen throughout the day.
Speaking to VOC on Tuesday morning, Deputy Chairperson of the Delft CPF Jamiel Spannenberg said that he was surprised that the area was not volatile.
“Yesterday (Monday), during the proposed shutdown, I was surprised that it didn’t affect Delft that much in terms of violence. There were a few people in open spaces but police were on the pulse and stopped it before it could get out of hand. there was no reported looting or destruction to property or infrastructure.
Spannenberg said that police spoke to the community and there was no aggression; “the people just dispersed.”
An anonymous eyewitness also stated that gangsters open fire on officials and that tear gas was fired as late as 8pm the evening. Spokesperson for the CPF in Parkwood Nicole Jacobus explained that there weren’t large crowds partaking in the protests.
“It was poorly attended trusting that the community realized that COVID-19 is real. I don’t think there was enough influence around the protest and all services were quite visible, for the people that weren’t protesting and to make sure here was no damage to property. There are people that are not a part of the protests that also need to be protected,” said Jacobus.
The protests centrered around the ‘marginalization of so-called coloured people’, with Jacobus stating that placards hosted phrases such as “Brown Lives Matter”. She noted however that residents do little to act against the criminality that is rife in their area.
“People (protested) for housing, jobs, educations and the major problem we have across the board is gang violence. We’ve asked the community various times to come forward with their complaints around gang violence, asking them to give statements but the people are scared,” she said.
“There is nothing wrong with having a protest but do it in an orderly fashion. People have the right to view their points but respect other people. We plea with the community not to stone and attack the emergency services while doing their duties,” she added.
Jacobus also highlighted the arrest of four minors she estimated to be between 11 and 15 and expressed disappointment at their involvement.
“Due to Covid-19 schools are closed but why are children on the front-line- throwing stones at cars and swearing at uniformed staff? These children should be at home doing school work- they shouldn’t be involved in gang things.”
On Tuesday afternoon, City Traffic spokesperson Richard Coleman said demonstrators had gathered in Cape Town on the corner of Long and Riebeeck street, as well as in Hyde Road in Parkwood where rubble was alight along the roadway. Coleman added that Khayelitsha was ‘very volatile’, particularly in Ntlazane and Oscar Mpetha roads, at the time.
None of the demonstrations were obstructing traffic and police monitored the scenes. It is unclear whether or not the demonstrations were linked to the demands of the shutdown.