PE community, police meet over protests

2015-07-27 14:35

Police have cautioned the public to avoid parts of the Northern Areas, after protests over the teacher allocation at schools in the area turned violent. Get the latest on this unfolding situation here.

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Last Updated at 11:27
27 Jul 15:39

See below a map of the affected areas. Has your area been affected? Send us your eyewitness accounts and pictures


27 Jul 14:51

Police have cautioned the public to avoid parts of the Northern Areas, after protests over the teacher allocation at schools in the area turned violent on Monday.

Although police said the situation had calmed down, they were keeping a watchful eye should the situation flare up again.

According to reports, police and members of the community were locked in discussions to try and reach a solution. Standford Road, Gail Road and 3rd Avenue and also roads between Hartebees Street and Pienaar Street should be considered no-go areas due to complaints of stone throwing reported there, the police said in a statement.


27 Jul 14:15
A General Motors employee sent this mail to News24: "Major supplying company next door to General Motors South Africa had to send workers home this morning due to high absenteeism." 

27 Jul 13:57
An employee at car company General Motors, which has a factory in Port Elizabeth, says the company is running at 30% capacity today due to the riots.

27 Jul 13:49

Eastern Cape police on Monday denied earlier using live ammunition to quell protests in Port Elizabeth’s Northern Areas.  

“Public Order Police, Tactical Response Teams and local police members have been deployed to bring the situation under control and subsequently used a water cannon, fired stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the protestors.  It must be made very clear that under no circumstances was any live ammunition used by the SAPS,” said spokesperson Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg in a statement.  

Police warned community members that, although they have the democratic right to protest, they must do so within the boundaries of the law and respect the rights of non-participating public members.  

“Disregard for the law will not be allowed and those who fail to adhere to this will be arrested, charged and brought before a court,” Janse van Rensburg said.  

This comes after members of the community started blocking and barricading roads with various items including burning tyres, mattresses and rubbish. The protestors also started throwing stones which damaged police and other vehicles.   

The public is advised to avoid Stanford Road, Gail Road and 3rd Avenue and also roads between Hartebees Street and Pienaar Street, due to complaints of stone throwing reported there.    

The situation is under control and the SAPS will continue to monitor and maintain high visibility in the area including air support to all the affected areas.  No arrests have been made as yet.


27 Jul 13:39

Kids played with the burning remnants of tyres while others helped spread smouldering rubbish across Highfield Road in Schauderville as protest action spread across the Northern Areas over poor conditions in schools, reported News24 Correspondent Derrick Spies.

The protests stemmed from a call by the Northern Areas Education Forum, who organised parents to shut down schools in the area last week over unhappiness with the way the provincial education department was dealing with teacher vacancies.

The NAEF’s grievances include teacher shortages, budget allocations being misused and a lack of non teaching staff at schools.

However, what was meant to be a peaceful protest over under resourced schools quickly escalated after vehicles were stoned while driving past the protestors on Monday morning.

Sitting watching the children play with the garbage in the street, a woman held a scarf to her face against the thick black smoke billowing up from burning tyres.

"We have to do it. It's for our children. If they don't sort out the schools then they will end up on the streets and before long they'll be in jail," she said.

Another woman, resting against a wall on the street corner shouted at her child to spread the rubbish further into the street as a bakkie drives past.

"Don't let them drive through," she tells him as they starts spreading the rubbish with a stick.

A teenager walks past and cautions not to take photos.

"Don't let them see your phone, they'll take it from you here," he says as he gestures to a group of men sitting on the railing between the lanes of Highfield Road.

"They don't want people taking photographs," he says as he walks hurriedly past.


27 Jul 12:10
The scene of volatile protests in Port Elizabeth's Northern Areas. Photos by Derrick Spies.

27 Jul 12:05

Local businesses in the Northern Areas have reportedly been closed following the volatile protests.

- Are you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and pictures

27 Jul 11:43

Amid reports of escalating violence in a protest in Port Elizabeth's Northern Areas on Monday morning over vacancies at schools, the education department said some schools had failed to appoint staff.

Police reportedly used rubber bullets, water cannons and stun grenades to disperse protesters who had blockaded the area. The protesters appeared to be parents of pupils, the pupils themselves and local taxi associations.

Eastern Cape police could not be immediately reached to confirm reports that protesters had begun to make petrol bombs or that a child had been shot.

Provincial education spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani told News24 that 23 schools were illegally closed down by protesters.


27 Jul 11:42

Those responsible for organising Monday morning's protest in the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth despite warnings not to, will be held accountable, MP Cedric Frolick warned.

Frolick, who had been travelling with police since 05:00 and was in one of the police vans that was stoned, said the NAEF had lost control of the situation but would be held accountable.

"We had meetings with them but they did not want to listen to us and said they were going to go ahead with the protest.

"They mobilised these individuals and now they are nowhere to be found, but they must be held accountable," he said.


27 Jul 11:13

Thick black smoke hung over the Northern Areas as protestors barricaded main roads out of the area with burning tyres since the early hours this morning, forcing vehicles to turn around, said News24 correspondent Derrick Spies.

The initial protest action stemmed from a call by the Northern Areas Education Forum, who organised parents to shut down schools in the area last week over unhappiness with the way the provincial education department was dealing with teacher vacancies.

The NAEF’s grievances include teacher shortages, budget allocations being misused and a lack of non teaching staff at schools.

However, what was meant to be a peaceful protest over under resourced schools quickly escalated after vehicles were stoned while driving past the protestors on Monday morning, resulting in police moving in to disperse the crowds.

The strong police presence was met with resistance and a number of police vehicles were also pelted with rocks, resulting in the use of water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.

At 10:00 a tense standoff between police and protestors has resulted in many parts of the Northern Areas currently being declared a no-go zone.

Police vehicles have been forced to withdraw from some areas after being petrol bombed, while others have had burning tyres rolled down at them by pockets of protestors.

Police spokesperson, Captain Johan Rheeder said police were monitoring the situation and advised members of the public to avoid the Northern Areas if possible. Rheeder said sections of Stanford Road and Highfield roads have been cordoned off by police and traffic officials.

"The protests have been taken over by elements within the community that are currently operating in small groups," he said.

He said no arrests had, as yet, been made.


27 Jul 11:02
WATCH: Videos from the scene show fires burning. Video from a News24 Correspondent.

27 Jul 11:00

Port Elizabeth - Police used rubber bullets and water cannons on protesters in Port Elizabeth’s Northern Areas on Monday.

Parents, pupils and taxi associations protested over the closure of schools in the area, an eNCA reporter said. A local woman tweeted that protesters were stoning police and that there had been at least one injury.

The schools were shut down because of a number of problems, the main one being a shortage of teachers, the Herald reported.

Protests around the closure of schools are worsening in the northern areas of Port Elizabeth, with police using rubber bullets and water cannons on protesters earlier on Monday.

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