E Cape protest meeting cancelled
Johannesburg - A meeting to address violent protests in the Nelson Mandela Metro in the Eastern Cape was called off amid concerns for residents' safety, local government MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane said on Saturday.
"We will reconvene this meeting with the local community to address a number of issues so as to eradicate any animosity amongst our people," Qoboshiyane said in a statement.
"We can't then, when we are busy with our programme of building better communities, have the very same people government is helping, fight against one another to the extent of torching homes."
Earlier, his spokesperson, Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha, said the Saturday morning meeting was called off amid concerns around Qoboshiyane's safety.
Qoboshiyane was meant to address residents at Port Elizabeth's Chatty Hall following violent protests in the area earlier in the week that had seen several homes torched.
"Nothing will ever be allowed to derail government programmes in this municipality. Anyone disrupting these programmes and attacking our people, is attacking the programmes of the ANC," said Qoboshiyane.
He had visited families whose homes had been torched.
"Having visited the community this morning, I am of the view that the violence ensuing in this community is baseless and must come to an end," he said.
"One is worried that we might have more attacks in the evening. Protecting our people must be a priority. We don't want more houses to be torched, we don't want other families to lose their homes, we don't want local communities to be victimised by others," said Qoboshiyane.
He said he had asked the Nelson Mandela metro and the provincial human settlements department to assist those who had been displaced.