Grabouw tense, roads closed after violent protests

2014-09-16 09:04

The situation remained tense in Grabouw this morning after service delivery protests broke out in the Western Cape farming town, causing school closures, looting and vandalism.

The N2 was closed from the Eskom turn-off and Pineview North entrance to The Orchards farm stall, and some schools in the area did not open today.

A resident of Melrose Place said she heard shots being fired until about 11pm last night, where informal housing near Gaffley Street had been broken down by protesters.

Police have lined Ou Kaapse Weg and Gaffley street to protect people wanting to walk to work.

Buses and motorists were being directed along alternative routes in the Caledon and Gordon’s Bay area under police protection.

A relief unit of the public order police was sent to Grabouw, 65 km southeast of Cape Town along the N2 highway, last night.

This was to provide respite for units that had been battling to regain control after the protests spiralled into violence and looting yesterday afternoon, Lieutenant Raldene Atson said last night.

Reports of cars being stoned in the Pineview area were received this morning.

Many residents have complained about pupils not being able to finish their exams yesterday. Pupils were apparently sent home for their safety, although this has been denied by John Michels, chairperson of the Grabouw Civic Organisation and one of the main organisers of the protesters.

Yesterday, a section of the N2 passing the town had to be closed for several hours after cars were stoned.

Oil was poured on the highway and later rocks and burning tyres were used to block access to the town.

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