2 arrested after Cullinan protests

2016-08-13 14:30

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Cape Town - Two men have been arrested on charges of public violence after a protest in Refilwe, in the Cullinan diamond mining region this week, police said on Saturday.

Constable Connie Moganedi said the two are expected to appear in the Cullinan Magistrate's Court on Monday and would also face a charge of malicious damage to property.

Police were still monitoring the area but it had been an uneventful Saturday by midday.

"It is quiet today," said Moganedi.

In the protest, which started on Thursday night, municipal buildings and a vehicle were torched, and a road was blocked with burning tyres. Police stopped an attempt at burning the municipal buildings down, but some damage was done.

Tshwane municipal spokesperson Selby Bokaba attributed the protest to an eviction notice, saying trouble had been brewing during the process of formalising informal settlements and relocating some residents.

He said this had involved removing the residents of Refilwe extension 5, 3 and 2 and resettling them in Refilwe Manor extensions 7 and 10.

Some Refilwe residents had allegedly occupied vacant land illegally in Refilwe extension 5 and the land invasion unit of the Tshwane Metro Police Department  had issued notices for them to vacate the land.

When this was not heeded, a private company was contracted to demolish 397 illegal structures on the land on Thursday.

"Incensed by the action, the illegal occupiers took to the streets yesterday and forcefully broke into a municipal housing building, causing damage to the structure," said Bokaba on Friday.

He warned that municipal services could be affected by the damage.

On Saturday, Moganedi conveyed an appeal by police commander for the area Maj-Gen Andre Wiese for people to be responsible about raising grievances and to do so within the confines of the law and the Constitution.

Burning property was not a solution to problems, he said, vowing to arrest the perpetrators.

Read more on:    protests

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