Protesters cuffed to Chappies toll plaza

2012-02-15 14:24
Cape Town - Protesters handcuffed themselves to scaffolding on the construction site of a toll booth on scenic Chapman's Peak drive, on Table Mountain, on Tuesday.

Workers in hard hats sat idly as the two protesters and a hunger striker negotiated with Hector Eliott, the Western Cape's transport and public works department head.

"We can build something that is less expensive and more environmentally friendly," Bronwyn Lankaers-Byrne, who has been on an 11-day hunger strike against the R54m toll plaza, told Eliott.

"I am willing to leave when these workers down their tools and there is a serious discussion," she said.

Lankaers-Byrne pointed to a diagram of a far smaller and "more environmentally friendly" toll booth which she said could be constructed for a mere R2m.

"The alternative is less expensive and more environmentally friendly. This is not necessary."

She said the public had shown overwhelming support for the protest against the toll booth by donating money, flowers and even massage oil.

‘Sales pitch’

She said "94%" of the people who had stopped to speak to her supported the protest.

Eliott told Lankaers-Byrne the department was prepared to look at the R2m proposal.

"This is a sales pitch, this is what this boils down to," he said.

Fiona Hinds, who had handcuffed herself to the scaffolding, said she would remain where she was every day if necessary.

"They know what they're doing is illegal," said Hinds, who sat above a placard reading: "Over My Dead Body".

"This site is part of a United Nations World Heritage Site. The UN has asked for Table Mountain to be taken care of, but here we are allowing them to put up an offensive building.

"Cape Town has been named as the World Design Capital in 2014. We can do better than this."

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