Protests prevent firefighters reaching burning Grabouw traffic dept

2016-05-10 15:40
Grabouw's traffic department burning. (CICA, Facebook)

Grabouw's traffic department burning. (CICA, Facebook)

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Cape Town - Unrest has prevented firefighters from reaching the burning Grabouw traffic department, understood to have been set alight during protests following land invasions, authorities said on Tuesday.

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"We are unable to get in to extinguish the fire. The road is blocked by police and it would not be wise to send in [firefighters] at the moment," Overberg District chief fire officer Reinhard Geldenhuys told News24.

Part of the roadworthy testing centre was set alight around midnight, and later on Tuesday morning a separate section started going up in flames, he said.

Protests began after people who built shacks on land owned by the Department of Public Works last month were warned to leave.

Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa said the N2 was closed at 09:00 on Tuesday and would not be reopened until the situation was considered safe. Motorists were being rerouted via Clarence Drive.

The decision to close the highway was made after protesters dumped rubbish and burnt tyres earlier.

"There is currently a high police and traffic presence," Africa said.

Theewaterskloof municipality spokesperson Stiffie Cronje said protesters forced their way into the traffic department early on Tuesday morning, and vandalised and looted the local government facility. The centre had since been closed.

Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said three high schools and two primary schools were affected by the protests.

She pleaded with parents to be mindful of the fact that their children were the only victims when schools closed due to violent protests.  

Police spokesperson Constable Noloyiso Rwexana said four people had been arrested for public violence and would appear in court once charged.

Read more on:    cape town  |  protests

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