Irate residents run amok in Philippi East

2019-06-27 06:01
Two cars torched at Sheffield Road during the service delivery protest near Marikana on Monday. PHOTO: UNATHI OBOSE

Two cars torched at Sheffield Road during the service delivery protest near Marikana on Monday. PHOTO: UNATHI OBOSE

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Disgruntled Marikana Informal Settlement residents in Lower Crossroads have threatened to cause further mayhem if the City of Cape Town fails to meet their demands.

On Monday 24 June, residents went on a rampage demanding services including the installation of communal taps, temporal toilets and electricity.

They barricaded Govan Mbeki and Sheffield Roads with stones. They also torched a Golden Arrow Bus, two City of Cape Town vehicles and a motorbike.

Community leader Siwaphiwe Dolophu said there is no turning back. “We want the City to install flushing toilets and communal taps and electricity now. We tried to engage with the councillor last year and he promised to come back with the report to us but he never did,” said Dolophu. He said they are aware that they are on private land but they want the City to purchase the land.

“Private land or not we demand the City to buy it. We’ve been here for almost five years now and nothing has happened,” said Dolophu.

When City Vision asked him why they burned cars, Dolophu responded by saying they only burned City’s cars “to make a statement”.

Ward 35 councillor Mboniswa Chitha rubbished claims that he distanced himself from Marikana.

“I’ve been engaging them on a number of times about service delivery in that area. They know that the City can’t provide services in that area because they are on private land,” said Chitha.

He added that the City managed to install communal taps and temporal toilets along Sheffield Road.

“The City installed communal taps and toilets on the pavement along Sheffield Road because it is not allowed to install them on a private land. And for those people who stay far from the main road they (the City) provided portable toilets,” said Chitha.

He said the only area that is going to get electricity is Klipfontein Mission which is opposite Marikana.

Captain Bheki Xulu, Philippi East police spokesperson, confirmed the incident. He said 14 people were arrested for public violence and malicious damage to property.

Among others, he said protestors burned eight cars including a bus, three Quantum taxis, a truck and three passenger vehicles. Some of the vehicles were burned down on the N2, Govan Mbeki Road and Symphony Way

Public relations manager for Golden Arrow Bus services Bronwen Dyke-Beyer confirmed that a bus was set alight on the corner of Govan Mbeki and Stock Road. “A group of unknown perpetrators surrounded the bus and began pelting it with stones. The driver and passengers then fled. The perpetrators then set the bus alight and it subsequently burnt out completely,” said Dyke-Beyer.

She said the cause of the attack is unknown at this stage but it appeared that it may be related to protest action in the area. She said as a precautionary measure they are diverting buses between New Eisleben and Swartklip Roads.

“Golden Arrow condemns this callous attack in the strongest possible terms and is providing its full assistance to the authorities to ensure that those responsible are brought to book. Burning buses achieves nothing and serves only to inconvenience passengers dependant on public transport and to jeopardise their working life and safety,” she said adding that the bus costs more than R2 million to replace.

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