Mayor Patricia de Lille has urged residents to report to the police those who vandalise City infrastructure, referring specifically to incidents in Dunoon and Joe Slovo last month when protesters wrecked MyCiTi stations.
Addressing a full council meeting on Thursday March 31, she pointed fingers at “those with political agendas who wish to destroy”.
On Wednesday March 23, the Western Cape High Court granted an interdict against protesters who damaged the MyCiTi stations the week before.
The two protests related to a land invasion along the N7 near Dunoon and unhappiness by illegal taxi operators in Joe Slovo (“Interdict to halt MyCiTi damage,” Tabletalk, March 30).
In a statement on Saturday March 26, Mayco member for human settlements Benedicta van Minnen said the protests had been politically-motivated.
However the ANC’s acting provincial chairman Khaya Magaxa has denied this, saying land grabs happen all the time and not only when municipal elections loom.
Mr Magaxa said people’s frustration with living in cramped conditions had sparked the land invasions.
“All these land grabs have nothing to do with the elections,” he told Tabletalk.
At last week’s council sitting, the mayor said it was “disappointing” to watch the events in Dunoon and Joe Slovo.
“We have repeatedly stated that we respect and encourage people to use their democratic right to protest, but this kind of behaviour is unacceptable.
“We need people to understand that you hurt your neighbour the most when you damage facilities intended for the use of the broader community.”
She said such incidents mostly affected the poor, who depended on public transport.
“In many cases, disrupting public transport results in taking food out of the mouths of entire families because residents are prevented from getting to work.”
In a strongly-worded message to protesters in Dunoon, Ms De Lille said the City lost millions of rands repairing vandalism every year.
“You will not stop us from delivering services. We will not let you take us backwards when so many of us are working together for a better future,” she said.
“Communities are urged to report vandals to their nearest police station so that they can be held accountable.”
* The secretary of the SA National Civic Organisation (SANCO) branch in Joe Slovo, Cowen Banjatwa, said its members would be in court on Tuesday April 26 to oppose the interdict.