Violent protest is ongoing in some major roads in Cape Town.
Cape Town authorities are reporting road closures across the city on Tuesday morning apparently as a result of the Western Cape Total Shutdown taking place from 5am to 10am.
- Ottery Road is closed between Old Ottery Road and Old Strandfontein Road;
there are reports of protest action in Kensington with 18th Avenue closed at Voortrekker Road;
there are burning tyres at the intersection of Beechwood and Ottery Roads;
- and Bellville taxi rank is closed. The rank’s closure could not be attributed to the shutdown as, according to the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association, it has been closed indefinitely following an outbreak of violence last week.
Organisers of the Western Cape Total Shutdown Communities said they would shut down all Cape Town’s major highways on Tuesday morning, to protest against crime and what they called the plight of working class people.
The group said in a statement over the weekend: “Our communities shall come out as a united working class saying enough is enough and demand that our voice be heard.
“We shall do this through reclaiming our streets on the day, which will have an impact on the economy.”
Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, says the shutdown is illegal as organisers did not apply for a permit in terms of the National Regulations of Gathering Act.
“So this puts them in automatic conflict with SAPS,” he says.
The call for a shut down follows similar actions in the Kensington, Bonteheuwel, Bishop Lavis and Elsies River communities in recent weeks, which led to major traffic jams across the city.
The group is comprised of concerned residents from all over the province.
One of the organisers, Henriette Abrahams, says the march is aimed at all spheres of government: “The marched is aimed at both national and provincial government. They are not hearing our plight, they are not doing anything regarding the crime. Why not? Are we not important enough?”
She says dozens of communities have pledged their support and all major roads in the Cape will be shut down.
“We will be closing the N1, N2, R300, M3, M5, Samora Machel, Jakes Gerwel and Lansdowne roads. If residents are living near any main roads or roads leading to businesses, it will be shut down,” Abrahams said.
The shut down is planned from 5am to 10am in “working-class communities from Bellville, Bishop Lavis, Bonteheuwel, Langa, Steenberg, Manenberg, Nyanga, Hanover Park, Flamingo, Freedom Square, Samora Machel, Philippi, Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha, Kensington, Factreton, Heideveld, Delft, Kraaifontein, Ottery and Ruyterwacht”.
In a statement, the organisation says: “We are in the process of listening to the voices of our people through gathering the demands from community to community.
“These demands will be consolidated as we move forward and will form the basis of our engagement with government.”
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andrè Traut said: “This office can confirm that we are prepared for the envisaged protest action on Tuesday. Additional resources will be deployed to maintain law and order and to ensure the public’s safety.”
More updates shortly.