Political motive behind riots, says MEC

Police had a busy week in Bloekombos and Wallacedene.

Violence on the streets of Kraaifontein that saw one man killed and vehicles stoned and torched was politically motivated, says Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz.

Eight men charged with public violence appeared in court on Friday, following several days of rioting.

Unrest was also reported in Khayelitsha and Delft as hundreds took to the streets, complaining about poor service delivery.

A 28-year-old man was knocked down and killed by a truck as rioters stoned motorists in Botfontein Road early on Wednesday March 24, according to Kraaifontein police spokesman Captain Hein Hendricks.

He said five vehicles were set alight and several others stoned on Wednesday March 24.

IOL reported that four policemen were injured on March 24 after clashes with protesters.

A strong police presence was visible on main roads and entrances to Wallacedene and Bloekombos. Debris and shattered glass covered several roads in the two communities.

About 700 protesters sang as they made their way up Old Paarl Road in Bloekombos on Friday March 26. There were no protests at the weekend.

A truck was stoned and overturned during the protests in Kraaifontein last week.

Many of the protesters came from the Covid and Marikana informal settlements.

Marikana resident Anele Macingwane said water delivered by the City was “sour” and had made people sick.

Covid resident Zizipho Biyela also complained about bad-tasting water and the lack of electricity in the area.

Sinethemba Dayimani, who moved to Covid late last year, said the water had given him and others a runny stomach.

“At first I thought it was just a batch of badly cleaned water that would run out over time, but the problem persisted and other residents started speaking out about the bad water,” Mr Dayimani said. “So we complained to the City and told them they could keep their water if this is the best they could do. And, true to form, the water has not been delivered in a really long while.”

Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for waste and water, said the water came from the City’s normal water supply and was treated to meet the national drinking-water criteria. They City had not received any complaints about the state of the water, she said.

Meanwhile, Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said his department would monitor court proceedings for any police failures that could see the case struck off the court roll.

“Let me be clear that citizens have a constitutional right to peaceful protest, whatever the issue may be, but when these protest actions become a pretext for violence and blatant criminality they cannot then be hidden behind the notion of unhappiness with service delivery,” he said.

“In fact, based on information that we have received, the real intention behind these so-called service delivery protests is to destabilise communities, and are politically motivated. These actions actually halt the crucial services into those affected communities including sanitation, education, healthcare and transport which our citizens dependent on.”

Mr Fritz said the protests appeared to be well-orchestrated and intent on wearing SAPS resources thin by “appearing sporadically in different locations”.