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Tensions mount in Parkwood as residents stand-off against cops

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The situation in Parkwood intensified on Sunday morning after City officials came to remove temporary structures, which were symbolically erected on a piece of land on Prince George Drive. Residents on Saturday confirmed that they would dismantle the structures once they had handed over a memorandum of demands to the local councillor. Upon inspection on Sunday morning, officers reported that more people had moved in overnight. But, community leaders have decried the actions of officers, saying that those who remained overnight intended to return home on Sunday morning.

The City’s Wayne Dyason said when Law Enforcement officers attempted to remove the structures on Sunday morning, members of the community reacted violently. Dyason says petrol bombs were thrown and officers were stoned. The local councillor has been removed from his property for his protection. Prince George Drive was subsequently closed in both directions between Hyde Road and De Waal Road.

An organiser of the protest action and the head of Backyard Dweller Association in Parkwood, Dominque Booysen, explained that the police’s land invasion unit had arrived on the scene at 06h00 on Sunday morning to remove the structures.

He said officers reacted with force without having engaged with community leaders about the protracted protest.

“While the people were sleeping, officers came and tramped on the people and shot at them without having engaged with people.

“Officers should have called the community leaders, before they did anything and engaged with the leaders…so that the community leaders could have spoken with law enforcement officers and, thereafter, relayed the message to the residents,” Booysen stated.

Booysen said while the decision was taken by leaders that the structures would be dismantled once the memorandum was handed to City officials, a number of residents decided to sleep on the site of the protest.

He affirmed that he did not give residents instructions to remain on the grounds and demanded that the protest end peacefully.

“Some people got so excited and decided to sleep overnight on the grounds. They would have moved from the grounds on Sunday morning. But, then law enforcement officers shot at them to remove them from the grounds.”

NOTE: Content may offend sensitive viewers

Parkwood protest

The situation in Parkwood intensified on Sunday morning after City officials came to remove temporary structures, which were symbolically erected on a piece of land on Prince George Drive. Residents on Saturday confirmed that they would dismantle the structures once they had handed over a memorandum of demands to the local councillor. But, upon inspection on Sunday morning, officers reported that more people had moved in overnight. The City’s Wayne Dyason said when Law Enforcement officers attempted to remove the structures on Sunday morning, members of the community reacted violently. Dyason says petrol bombs were thrown and officers were stoned. The local councillor has been removed from his property for his protection. Prince George Drive has been closed in both directions between Hyde Road and De Waal Road. Motorists are advised to use the main road or the M3 as an alternative route.NOTE: Content may offend sensitive viewers[Footage: Supplied]

Posted by Voice of the Cape Radio – VOC on Sunday, 20 May 2018

According to Booysen, Sunday’s vandalism of property was spurred on by criminal elements and not organisers of the protest action.

The local BP garage was vandalized during the protest action. Photo: Supplied

Residents are demanding houses for backyard dwellers, who Booysen noted have been increasingly overcharged for rent and expelled from properties without due notice.

“There is no body that stands to protect backyarders. But, when we vote then the Democratic Alliance [DA] gets our vote. They must not make this a political agenda…we voted for the DA and now they failing us,” he continued.

Community leaders are expected to hold a meeting with the councillor of Ward 66, William Akim, at 14h00 on Sunday.

VOC 91.3fm


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