From the news desk

Service delivery protest creates chaos in Pelican park

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By Loushe Jordaan

Grievances over alleged poor services and housing sparked a violent protest by residents from Phumlani Village in Pelican Park on Wednesday morning, disrupting traffic and forcing some parents to keep their children at home. Police members have been deployed to the Pelican Park area to maintain law and order at a protest action where approximately 200 protesters have gathered. Community members of Eagle Park have been burning tyres and stoning vehicles from as early as 3am this morning. City Traffic spokesperson, Richard Coleman, says as a result of the protest action, many roads have been closed.

“Due to protest action in Pelican Park, Strandfontein Road is closed between 5th Avenue and Spine Road. Strandfontein Road and Olieboom Road are also closed,” says Coleman.

A social media message was sent out last night to mobilise residents after the decision was taken at a meeting last night. Residents say they are protesting to highlight their need for housing. Chairperson of the Riemvasmaak Informal Settlement Sitwa Kwada says they protested last year and the councillor promised resident answers by the end of October but since then nothing has been delivered.

“We then as leadership approached her but she has failed us dismally. We had a meeting on the 17th April with the councillor who had no plan as to a way forward so we as a community decided to draft a letter to hand over to the City of Cape Town,” says Kwada.

The vice chair of New Horizons neighbourhood watch, Jade Botman, said gang violence has fuelled the already volatile situation.

“Gangsters have taken advantage of the situation. Gangs have been shooting back and forth this morning forcing police on scene to retaliate,” Botman alleged.

According to a resident, compared to other protest action in the area, today’s one was the worst.

“We got such a fright when gunshots were fired. The shots were aimed at a car that drove by and protesters were shouting at the driver, throwing stones and using vulgar language,” says the anonymous resident who called in to VOC this morning.

Meanwhile, Kwada says he is aware of the rumours going around accusing protesters of using live ammunition. Kwada said this is untrue as they are not even in possession of any fire arms.

“We do not want to hurt anyone; we just want people to take us seriously. There were reports of gun violence but it had nothing to do with us, the only thing we are guilty of is burning tyres, which is acceptable during protest action,” Kwada stated.

According to Western Cape police spokesperson Andre Traut, police action has been taken to quell the violence and six protesters have been arrested for public violence. The aforementioned roads are still closed and protest action is still on-going. VOC

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