From the news desk

Woodlands erupts in violent protest and looting


Following weeks of sporadic protests, at least six businesses near Highlands Drive in Mitchells Plain, were severely affected by looting and vandalism on Monday night, as protests for housing and service delivery continued. Footage circulating on social media shows a Pick n Pay Express and an Auto Zone in Eisleben looted and vandalized. Fresh protests began on Friday afternoon, when residents peacefully marked plots in the Woodlands area.

[Footage: Supplied]

Ward councillor Joan Woodman explained that residents marked two separate plots of land in protest for housing within Woodlands, Mitchells Plain. 

“We called land invasion, they were there on Saturday and they took down structures. [Residents] continued after the Land Invasion Unit left. Sunday in continued,” Woodman stated.

Woodman said violent protests erupted on Monday morning after the Land Invasion Unit once again stepped in to remove the illegally erected structures from the plots of land.

She added that while she understands the frustration of residents, Monday night’s protest changed the face of protest from a need for housing and service delivery to an opportunity to destroy and loot businesses.

Woodman says, due to the volatility of situation last night, she was advised by community leaders not to enter the area.

“I wouldn’t say that I drove past, I was there, but I engaged with the leadership. People at the time were too angry. So, I engaged with the Rate Payers Association and their advice to me was not to come into the area.”

According to the chairperson of Lentegeur CPF, Byron De Villiers, 90 per cent of the businesses in Woodlands have been looted, including a tuck-shop.

“There was a police presence, but just not enough. We did make several calls for additional resources. Resources did arrive, but a little too late 90 per cent of the shops were looted already.”

While criminal elements are said to be responsible for the looting, De Villiers said residents need to take responsibility for the ran-sacking of vital businesses.

“It is from the residents who were involved. Yes, there were certain elements exploiting this situation. But, the community of Woodlands was involved too.”

He said three families were rescued from one room of a home that was vandalised.

“Myself and our executive, we were there getting people out of their houses; women and children who were locked in a room for their safety. It is totally unacceptable and we don’t condone this type of behaviour.”

“The people need to rethink the way they are approaching things,” De Villiers continued.

Law Enforcement’s Wayne Dyason confirmed that the situation on Tuesday morning was calm.

VOC 91.3fm


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