Protests ‘add to strained resources’

2018-06-26 06:00

Residents of Steen Villas are continuing to protest evictions which have been carried out at the development in recent weeks.
Continued violence has disrupted the area near Steenberg Station in Military Road.

The units are managed by the Social Housing Company (Sohco) which works in partnership with the City of Cape Town to provide affordable housing. Evictions at Steen Villas and protests against these evictions are nothing new, but continued violent action has put strain on resources across the city yet again.

The City’s Directorate of Safety, Security and Social Services confirms that a total of 167 incidents of protest have been reported to the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre in the past two and a half months, as at Friday 22 June, with 55 incidents already reported in the first three weeks of June.

There were also 11 incidents of public violence and tyre burning in this period, while 44 cases of stone throwing were also reported.

Worryingly, there have been reports of numerous children taking part in protest action, particularly at Steen Villas, says Mayco member for safety, security and social services, JP Smith.

“It really is unfortunate that we continue to see children featuring quite prominently during protest action. The risk to their safety is of huge concern, particularly where such protest action becomes violent. We urge parents and caregivers to ensure that children are kept safe and away from incidents of civil unrest,” says Smith.

While law enforcement authorities, including the City’s resources, are constantly monitoring the situation and trying to contain protest hotspots, Smith says that other departments are working in communities to plot a way forward.

“Various City representatives have been engaging with affected communities and these engagements are ongoing. To reiterate, the City is committed to working with communities who have raised legitimate service delivery concerns, and we are working to find sustainable solutions to these concerns. We cannot, however, tolerate the violence and destruction that have characterised many protests, where criminal elements have hijacked legitimate causes for their own ends.”


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