Housing protest turns violent

SUMMER JACOBS

The streets of Dunoon were once again filled with uproar when approximately 2 000 residents joined a protest march for land last Friday.

The dust had barely settled after the last protest three weeks ago which saw residents wanting to lay claim to a piece of land along the N7 before any development could take place there (“MyCiTi targeted by Dunoon land invaders” Tabletalk, March 23).

The protest turned violent when a MyCiTi station in Dunoon was set alight and protesters threatened to burn down ward councillor Lubabalo Makeleni’s house.

The saga continued last week when protesters joined an EFF march to the civic centre in town to hand over a memorandum from the Dunoon backyard dwellers.

Mayco member for transport, Brett Herron said misconduct from a group of protesters who “prevented the MyCiTi buses from turning around at the civic centre station” was unacceptable.

“Some of these protesters eventually forced their way onto four 18-metre buses, intimidating the bus drivers and demanding to be transported back to Dunoon.

“The City will use the footage taken by the CCTV cameras to identify the suspects and we will lay charges with the local police for illegal trespassing and intimidation,” said Mr Herron.

He said it was “shameful and shocking” that the EFF would disrupt public transport services for political purposes and called on the EFF leadership to “conduct their electioneering with discipline and respect for others”.

According to Lieutenant Adriana Chandler from Table View police station, the march was peaceful but a few protesters were “getting out of hand” when they burned tyres near the Racing Business Park.

Law Enforcement were deployed and three MyCiTi stations were closed: Usasaza, Dunoon and Killarney.

Mr Herron said as a result of the protest, most commuters experienced delays of up to 90 minutes during the morning peak-hour period.

Warrant Officer Daphne O’Reilly from the Milnerton police station said a public violence case has been opened by the police and is currently being investigated.

“A public violence case has been opened for the burning of tyres on the N7 and Potsdam Road.

“The video footage at the MyCiti stations will be viewed to see how far it covers and to see if the police can get any leads,” said Warrant Officer O”Reilly.

She said all three MyCiti stations have been re-opened and are operating as usual.

* They were opened at around 9am on Saturday April 9, following a safety assessment from Law Enforcement.