Grabouw protesters light fires next to N2

2014-09-16 10:37
(Sapa)

(Sapa)

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Cape Town - The security situation in protest-hit Grabouw had deteriorated to such an extent on Tuesday morning that not even the fire brigade were allowed in, officials said.

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Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa said earlier cars were still allowed to pass through the closed off section of the N2 on an ad hoc basis.

But by 09:00, groups of protesters were setting fires next to the road and hiding from police behind a barrier in Slang Park township.

Fire engines were on standby but were not allowed onto the road to douse the fires for fear of being stoned, Africa said.

Tyres smouldering

A Sapa correspondent on the scene said a group of people had lined up on the N2, which had been closed since Monday afternoon between the Eskom turnoff and Pineview North entrance to The Orchards farm.

Tyres were still smouldering on the road and some protesters ran across the road, setting fires, and then ran back and hiding behind a barrier in the township.

A police official said at least 13 people had been arrested.

More shops were plundered overnight, some belonging to foreigners. At one shop, the gates and fence protecting it were removed by looters.

Shooting

A resident of Melrose Place said she heard shots being fired until about 23:00 on Monday 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.

On Monday night a relief unit of the public order police was sent to Grabouw, situated 65km south-east of Cape Town along the N2 highway.

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

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

Schools affected

Many residents have complained about pupils not being able to finish their exam papers on Monday and being 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.

Schools will be closed on Tuesday and pupils will be sent home.

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

Read more on:    cape town  |  service delivery  |  protests

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