City of Cape Town lays charge against shutdown organiser over R1.5m damage

Protesters blocked Hyde Road in Parkwood early in the morning to highlight the need for housing in the area. It was one of several protests held across the city on Thursday. (Ashraf Hendricks, GroundUp)
Protesters blocked Hyde Road in Parkwood early in the morning to highlight the need for housing in the area. It was one of several protests held across the city on Thursday. (Ashraf Hendricks, GroundUp)

The City of Cape Town says it has laid criminal charges against the organiser of Thursday’s Cape Town shutdown, mayoral committee for safety and security JP Smith has confirmed.

The damage to infrastructure will be in the millions, the City stated on Friday.

Controversial group "Gatvol Capetonians" organised the march, saying it was to highlight the plight of backyard dwellers in the province and how they have been neglected as far as housing opportunities were concerned.

Heeding the movement’s call, several communities in Cape Town took to the streets of Cape Town on Thursday morning to block off several entrances to major roads.

READ: A backyard dweller's plea: 'All I am asking for is for a house so that I can die in dignity'

Now, the city says having incurred costs, albeit preliminary, to the tune of R1.5m, charges have been laid against leader of the movement Fadiel Adams.

"The protests caused damages to road surfaces in the seven areas, which will deteriorate much more rapidly due to the fire damage and will require resurfacing, as well as damage to traffic lights and streetlights which were destroyed.

"The total preliminary cost of these damages is likely to be in excess of R1.5m," said Smith.

Smith bemoaned the loss of resources in other areas as a result of having to deploy more law enforcement personnel to affected areas.

'I am being persecuted'

"Damages to infrastructure is easier to calculate than the cost of emergency and policing staff who were unavailable due to the requirement for them to protect loss of life and infrastructure at the sites of protest," said Smith.

"The City has laid criminal charges in relation to incitement to violence and other offences against the national spokesperson of the organisation responsible for the illegal protests and more may follow in the next few days.

Adams said Thursday's shutdown was "moderately successful" and says he is being "persecuted by the City of Cape Town".

According to Smith, mayor Dan Plato advised that he had attempted to contact the organiser of the protest but that he had not answered or returned his calls since the beginning of the week.

Adams says this is not true and that he does not understand why he is charged with incitement of violence when he had in fact told the city that the protests would be peaceful.

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