Protest leaves scars

The aftermath of the protest in Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay.
The aftermath of the protest in Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay.

As the smoke clears in Imizamo Yethu following days of protests, the protest may have left permanent scars on residents and others affected by the service delivery protest.

Imizamo Yethu residents took to the streets from Saturday 1 July, demanding that City of Cape Town officials deliver on their promises after a fire in March that left many homeless.

Those affected by the fire where moved to a temporary site, but there was no electricity or running water where the victims were housed.

Protesters took to the streets, shutting down main roads and burning tyres. As the protest escalated, cars were overturned, windows smashed and some cars burnt.

A 26-year-old man was shot and killed in the protest.

It is also alleged that a woman was raped, stabbed and thrown into the river by “protestors” when she attempted to go to work. She is currently in hospital.

Hout Bay police had not responded to enquiries at the time of going to print.

One non-profit organisation, Community Cohesion, is inviting people who have been affected by the unrest to come for ­counselling.

The organisation provides personal development training, social worker intervention and counselling.

Bronwyn Moore, director of Community Cohesion, is calling on residents of Hout Bay and surrounding areas to come for help.

“We are already counselling people from the old-age home, people from BP. Everyone here needs help.

“We were locked in for three days, we couldn’t move. That is enough to go out and get help.”

Moore says people should be counselled because secondary trauma is a real problem.

“Your mind experiences things like it’s happening now. If you don’t get help and talk about what just happened, you will continue to live in fear. When people talk about a protest starting again you can go into panic mode.

“We are here to help everyone and we are doing it for free. You need to talk about it so that you will know how best to act, what you can do and what you cannot do. You need to be counselled so that you know what’s real and what’s not,” she says.

“When chaos happens, people need to blame someone. You have to make sense of it,” says Moore.

“We are calling on everyone in the village to come for help so that they are not affected by secondary trauma. What happened can lead to so much anger, frustration and betrayal, so we need to talk about these things.”

Currently they are working with people affected at Kronendal Retirement Village and Penzance residents, as well as people who have booked an appointment for themselves and their families.

Ward counsellor Roberto Quintas writes on Facebook he is grateful for the current peace and the opportunity for everyone to rebuild the community. 

“Although I fully support the constitutional right of people to protest, I condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence, criminality and blatant disregard for human rights that were perpetrated by those who damaged property, intimidated and harmed others, and who restricted the movement of others: All of these are an infringement of the same Bill of Rights.”

Contact Community Cohesion on 061 683 6943, angie@­comm­unitycohesion.co.za or bron­wyn@­communitycohesion.­co.­za

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