Leaders to meet with authorities

2018-05-22 06:00
Parkwood residents protested against the lack of housing opportunities for them in the area and the length of time spent waiting on the City of Cape Town’s housing database.

Parkwood residents protested against the lack of housing opportunities for them in the area and the length of time spent waiting on the City of Cape Town’s housing database.

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Local leaders are set to meet with the provincial department of human settlement today (Tuesday 22 May) following weekend protests in the area.

According to police spokesperson Warrant Officer Wynita Kleinsmith, various law enforcement authorities were called out to the protests which were triggered when residents wanted to erect illegal structures on an open field in the area.

“A group of about 500 protesters residing in Parkwood took to the streets to show their dissatisfaction of staying in backyards. On Saturday protesters were out on the field, claiming a piece of land to erect structures, but all was calm. On Sunday protesters blocked Acacia Road, Heath Road, Prince George Drive, and Walmer Road by burning tyres and throwing stones. Traffic was re-routed due to barricades,” says Kleinsmith.

Police brought the protest to a halt when protesters started stoning vehicles and police. Kleinsmith confirms that rubber bullets were used to disperse the crowd.

Community leader in the area and convener of the Voice of Parkwood, Pastor Paul Phillips, says that although protests were peaceful on Saturday, residents felt triggered by the way in which they were disrupted in the early hours of Sunday.

“In the early hours of Sunday morning, metro police came in to remove the pegs out of the ground, which they say are illegal structures, but I call it wind shelters, because people were in an open field and they were just putting up a piece of plastic sheet to protect them from the cold and the wind because they decided to overnight on the open space. That escalated into retaliation from the community, which eventually got out of control,” says Phillips.

He claims that the leadership group of the area intervened to help bring the situation under control.

“As a leadership we distance ourselves from criminal activities. The reality is when we have hundreds of people who protest it is impossible to detect who are criminals or not,” he says, adding that the Parkwood community hall, rent office as well as Councillor William Akim’s office were vandalised­.

“The situation is under control. We are meeting [today]. We are engaging the office of the minister of human settlements to determine and map the way forward,” he says.V Continued on page 8.

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