City of Cape Town urges people to report protest damage to police

2016-10-27 15:48
Rubbish on fire in Pleinstreet during the riots. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

Rubbish on fire in Pleinstreet during the riots. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town urged businesses and residents whose property was damaged during the Fees Must Fall clashes with police on Wednesday to open cases so that they could trace the offenders on video footage.

So far, the tally of damages is four Metro Police vehicles, two SA Police Service (SAPS) vehicles, one MyCiTi bus, one private vehicle, a number of Golden Arrow buses, and some buildings near Parliament, according to JP Smith, member of the City’s mayoral committee for safety.

Smith said six people had been arrested – four for public violence and two for assault of a police officer.

"We are calling on affected residents and businesses to please open cases with the SAPS, as video footage of events is available and will be used to identify and prosecute offenders. City services have been engaged with regard to clean-up operations, and these will begin as soon as resources allow," he said.

The police also circulated a picture of a man smashing a police van's window on Wednesday, asking for information on his identity, but have not yet revealed the full extent of arrests and injuries.

Thousands of students met at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and moved from there to Parliament to demand that university education be completely free.

They had permission for the gathering to show their disdain for the current tiered system - which freezes fees for poorer families, leaving the better off to pick up the increases - while Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan presented his mini-budget.

Their protest was incident free until somebody set alight a fake coffin with a picture of Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande. It was tossed from the crowd over the policemen kitted in riot gear standing at the gates to Parliament.

The window of the McDonald's branch at Cape Town Station was smashed. (Lulama Zenzile, Netwerk24)

CBD brought to standstill

With minutes to go until their protest slot officially ended at 15:00, stun grenades boomed, almost immediately, sending protesters scattering in a screaming stampede. A small group started throwing pieces of pavement and broken bricks back at the police.

Flash points developed around the CBD, with police setting off stun grenades and using rubber bullets and a water cannons. The city's CBD came to a standstill.

At the Cape Town station, somebody kicked a window in at McDonald’s, as well as one of the station’s fortified glass doors. One man lay bleeding on the pavement on Plein Street after being hit by a projectile during the chaos.

The SA Christian Leadership Initiative was present monitoring the protest.

Monitor Annie Kirke said they had battled to establish how many people had been arrested when they went to the Cape Town central police station late on Wednesday afternoon.

Friends of those arrested said at least 10 people had been taken in by police, she said.

She had been told that several people were injured.

SACLI was expected to release a report later.

Read more on:    cape town  |  university protests

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