2018-03-01 06:01
In Gugulethu on Sunday, a vehicle was set alight and the ATM outside popular eatery damaged.

In Gugulethu on Sunday, a vehicle was set alight and the ATM outside popular eatery damaged.

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Whether peace will return to Gugulethu after a week of rampage and destruction and looting of property will depend on the outcome of a meeting between Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille and the so-called land invaders.

The meeting is scheduled for today(Thursday) at the Gugulethu Sports Complex.

Last week, Gugulethu descended into chaos after people who invaded the Uluntu Centre precinct and used strips of cloth to demarcate plots, threatening to build shacks, and were attacked by City police, burned tyres and put barricades in the road.

They also invaded land next to the Luyolo Community Centre in NY26, threatening to build shack, until Law Enforcement confiscated their building material. Violent scenes have played themselves out during the period.

At a community meeting she held with the protesters, De Lille promised to meet the backyarders again today, at 11:00am.

In the past week alone, protesters in Gugulethu set fire to popular eatery Mzoli’s, a car, the ATMs and also looted the Nozinga Pick N Pay Franchise store in the same block of shops. A protester who tried to stop the acts of violence was stabbed.

On Sunday, the northern part of Gugulethu’s NY1 resembled a war zone and a no-go area.

The road was strewn with paving bricks and bus stop shelters, making it impossible for transport to move through the area.

On Facebook, the protesters had even posted intimidating messages, threatening anyone who dared criticise “our revolution”with the prospect of burning their bodies and attacking their homes.

But by Tuesday, calm seemed to have returned to the area, pending the outcome of the meeting today.

According to protest leader Melvin Tshabalala, their demand was to be allowed to continue staying in the pockets of occupied land.

“We want the City to not only allow us to stay, but must provide temporary housing facilities.

We are not asking for the material that was taken during the eviction but temporary shelter until they build houses for us,” he said.

Tshabalala said that they estimated that there were more than 80 000 backyarders in Gugulethu alone, and that the protest will continue if she does not meet their demands today.

“We will continue making Gugulethu ungovernable and we will not stop there, but will shut down the N2 and will go as far as Rondebosch, because we have waited too long for housing,” he said.

However, Thsbalala has apologised to the community for the acts of violence, arson and looting that has accompanied the protests.

“One of our members, Victor Mdekazi, was stabbed when he tried to stop the looting and burning of Mzoli’s and Nozinga store.

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