Villiersdorp protest turns violent

2012-03-12 14:42

Cape Town - Villiersdorp residents burned down a community hall and destroyed public facilities in a protest on Monday, Western Cape police said.

Captain Frederick van Wyk said the trouble began at around 05:00 when about 150 residents burned tyres on the corner of Buitenkant street and Graaff street in the town.

Some commuters were prevented from going to work.

A local leader, who usually led protest marches, was called to talk to the crowd without success.

Protesters insisted on speaking to Theewaterskloof district municipality manager Stan Wallace, and an opportunity to hand him a memorandum of demands.

Rubber bullets

About 800 people then marched to the municipal offices, destroying facilities along the way.

"The memorandum was handed over to Wallace but the crowd was still unruly. The protesters were warned to disperse without success," Van Wyk said.

Police used water cannons to disperse the crowd. Residents retaliated by throwing stones and bricks, damaging the post office and municipal offices.

They also threw a beer bottle at someone, upon which police officers used rubber bullets.

The protesters retreated to local township Goniwe Park where they burned down the community hall.

Van Wyk said a case of public violence and malicious damage to property was opened. No arrests were made and no injuries were reported.

The municipality was expected to comment later on Monday on the reason for the protest.

The situation was being monitored.

- Are you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos.

  • John - 2012-03-12 14:56

    If the local residents prefer a burnt out shell for a community hall, why rebuild it. They obviuosly prefer their town to be that way, otherwise why would they destry the local amenities.

      Tshifhiwa - 2012-03-12 15:24

      Barbaric act, that’s all I can say.

      Stormkaap - 2012-03-12 15:39

      I cant agree more.. give them nothing, they dont deserve anything!This is the ANC's policy of disobedience that continues to come to roost!

  • Andres - 2012-03-12 15:00

    This is the second time in recent weeks a community has gone on the rampage for no apparent reason, without previous grievances being aired and without a hint of forewarning. The previous one was also pre-dawn involving youths near Langa, with no organised memorandum and no apparent march organiser. I'm beginning to wonder if these ad hoc mobs aren't clandestinely politically motivated by someone who can't win in the Western Cape at the ballot box?

      Andres - 2012-03-12 15:02

      Speculative, I know... but seems very strange and well-organised chaos for marches with no organiser.

      Ron - 2012-03-12 15:35

      It certainly is in Plett Andres since the ANC lost out to the DA who is busy revealing all their corruption.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-03-12 15:49

      I would say you spot on Andres.

      Ian - 2012-03-12 16:15

      I agree 100% - it stinks of their tactics

  • elsabe.wessels1 - 2012-03-12 15:01

    wth??? "also threw a beer bottle at someone, upon which police used rubber bullets"... more harm than good caused. The damage caused to property, who is going to pay for it to be fixed? Really interesting...

  • Francois - 2012-03-12 15:03

    A story for Ripley's. Community burns down their OWN community hall. Disturbing as it may be, these people could have entered for a place in The Darwin Awards... .Really! What IS sad though is that the 20/80 rule applies. 20% (or less) did the damage and the remaining 80% of the peace-loving residents have to now go without.

  • Matthew - 2012-03-12 15:10

    Mindless morons destroying what they protesting to say they dont have etc takes one idiot to iniate it and the rest follow.mindless destruction that does nothing to help no one.and in the end,as always,tax payers money goes into fixing it all again. Aresst them all,and FORCE them to rebuild everything destroyed.under police supervision,just like they do with prisoners.i dont care.just do it,let them clean after themselves for a bloody change! maybe they'll learn not to be so stupid,but only maybe

  • The-third - 2012-03-12 15:18

    hooligans. Let them eat cake!

  • lindz.kok - 2012-03-12 15:25

    so sick of hearing about riots and prtests and strikes, and i am not refering to protesting and striking in the way that 90% of europes protests procede either. i mean this typical destructive mostly african way of protesting. no letters no meetings no peacefull marches, no violent destruction! pfft, sick of this bs... anc start working on educating d@mbsh1ts!

      Michael - 2012-03-12 15:56

      Correction, South African

  • Den - 2012-03-12 15:43

    so typical, to protest you burn break destroy, to dam stupid to do anything else

      tracy.engelberts - 2012-03-12 22:46

      Couldn't have said it better Den, too bloody stupid.

  • Clive - 2012-03-12 15:57

    The use of fire as a form of protest is primitive barbarism. And they will, of course, expect the authorities to rebuild. I would tell them to go to hell unless they can provide information which results in the culprits being tried and convicted.

  • Kevin - 2012-03-12 16:41


  • Nick - 2012-03-12 16:50

    This is the way here, have a problem and destroy it, not thinking of the ramifications. The lack of sound education is failing our country badly. Don't just build new schools and Universities, FIND proper teachers not feeble educators.

  • jermaine.lottering - 2012-03-12 16:56

    This was not a political agenda, this was simply a protest on service delivery. And the so called DA made it political. They went a bit to far with burning down the hall but if this protest would not have happened the community of villiersdorp would not have been heard. And to Andres, the people have been complaining for years now but the DA keep bumping money in to all ready advantaged areas. and most if not every suggestion of some of the ANC counselors keep getting voted off by the DA counselors because their more candidates in meetings,So the people had to do something.

      Clive - 2012-03-12 21:00

      What a load of codswallop! They went "a bit far", he says. They went way over the top, sir. I will be most surprised if these problems - and I don't dispute that there seems to be genuine grounds for protest - do not go back to the days when an unholy Nat/ANC alliance ran the province. And if there are more DA than ANC councillors at council meetings, then I imagine that's simply because that's the way the people voted; it's called democracy. Mind you, I wouldn't mind betting that the absentee rate for ANC councillors might have something to do with it. I would also like to know what proportion of the community is happy at their hall being burnt to the ground.

      tracy.engelberts - 2012-03-12 23:02

      Ok let's burn some tyres, throw all the rubbish out on the street and break shop windows!! That is smart and I will get what I want? The DA did not make this political! This was an illegal march and they have gone too far, this is not something we can blame on a party. By the way we as "advantaged areas" actually pay hand over fist for this ignorant bunch. We continue to give into demands. WTF

  • leehendor.ruiters - 2012-03-12 17:05

    I am sure the reason for the protest was written in the memorandum. If only the municipal manager (who was hiding nearby) would come out and accept it. What people don't know is that its not the first time a memorandum was given to the municipality. But in typical DA fashion the municipality apply their version of the 20/80 rule. Spending 80 on 20 of the town hence spending 20 to 80 of the town. Get ur facts straight and to those who talk of barbarism, its barbaric to still have people living without running water, ablution amenities and proper community facilities - while u know where the poblems are. The municipality rather is set to sell a community asset for the private sector to make money off - with the only community swimming pool and day camping facilities. The community hall was a shell to begin with, the community paying lots of money to hire it and its never maintained or beautified to look like a proper community hall.

  • James - 2012-03-12 17:31

    They want all these services, obviously not that they are going to pay for them, and then just like a child because they don't get it they throw a tantrum. do they not yet realise they are simply making their own life more difficult by destroying things and structures that they are again going to require the use of in the near future. Now when the time comes and they need the community hall, they are going to want to know why it has not yet been repaired/who did this etc. its a terrible circle of destruction that they continue to trap themselves in. this is not the way forward, this is not the way to build a country.

  • Kagiso Tlhakung - 2012-03-12 18:17

    @lindz.kok u bloody agent...we fyt because we are tired of oppresion we wil react angrily to anymore bulls++ u try pulling on us. U live comfortably in ur home and community which benefited frm apartheid then u want to tell us how to do things??? U must go bk to Europe there r many boats to go around

      Clive - 2012-03-12 21:09

      Kagiso, perhaps you can tell us what you think - in proper English, please - about the self-enrichment of the ruling clique in national and local government, while the people in hundreds of ANC-run municipalities country-wide stage protest after protest over service non-delivery, all to no avail. Clearly these ANC bigwigs care as little about poor black and brown people as he thinks the DA does in the W Cape. Call me a bloody agent if it makes you feel good; I won't lose any sleep.

      Nigel - 2012-03-13 07:43


  • Johanita - 2012-03-12 20:59

    It is soo sad that even today we still have riots. It destroys soooo many people's lives....

  • Pieter - 2012-03-12 22:06

    The fact of the story that no one is telling, is that a lot of people live in fear for their lives in the rural area. They want to go to work, they NEED to go to work to get an income to care for their families, but thanks to the riots they are forbidden to go. The children can't go to school. I personally spoke to some of the children this evening. They are furious because they couldn't go to school today and maybe even tomorrow. They don't give a dam about the riots. They want to go to school, but they can't. So now tell me . . . who is the winners in this situation?

  • Nigel - 2012-03-13 07:43

    nice, so they burn down their own community hall, brain dead morons, the stupidity of these people has no limits.

  • Deon - 2012-03-13 10:52

    They will do it again, get more police and arrest some. We don't stay in a lawless country. Protesting is fine but not intimidation and destruction to property. Next time burn your own homes.

  • Adiel - 2012-03-13 11:53

    Think about the school kids that are being affected here. We cannot write our tests because of the violent outbreaks. We had to evacuate our school and hostel kids wer asked to make the necessary arrangements for transport. Our school kids were all called in so that our school principal could tell us that we will write our tests next term. Few scolars could show up at school today because of the strike. A few of my fellow kearners were chased by protesters to stop them from going to school.

  • Joe - 2012-03-13 12:37

    Cry our beloved country...when stuff like this gets to Villiersdorp,a nice sleepy Cape "DORP" ,then you know the end is not far off for our once magnificent country....Vote D.A. ,

  • sean.keys1 - 2012-03-13 16:32

    Yeah, it's no surprising secret that this is an ANC political tactic! They did the same in Grabouw. All the areas they lost to DA follow the same pattern. Grabouw has emerged in a ruined state after being in ANC hands. Villiersdorp can only hope the DA & local authorities will take control over these ignorant fools!

  • exile.ndumiso - 2012-03-20 11:57

    OMG, I cannot believe that such wonderful people in my hometown have all agreed to destroy the little bit we were already having...

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