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3 dead in violent Cape service protests

14 August 2012, 17:03

Johannesburg - Protests in Khayelitsha have so far left three people dead and cost millions of rands, the City of Cape Town said on Tuesday.

"This senseless loss of life is unacceptable and on behalf of the City of Cape Town I again convey my condolences to the families," Cape Town mayoral ccommittee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said in a statement.

Smith said a 30-year-old man died on Monday evening after protesters pelted his truck with stones and he drove into a barricade on the N2.

On 3 August, a Golden Arrow bus driver died after his bus was stoned and he drove into an informal settlement, Smith said.

A man inside one of the houses died from his injuries three days later.

"The city will do everything in its power to assist the South African Police Service in identifying and prosecuting the individuals responsible."

He said a R50 000 reward about information on the protests was being offered.

"We welcome any information that will help in the successful prosecution of those people who are responsible for these deaths, the destruction of property, or who make themselves guilty of instigating or participating in public violence."

Smith said the protests had caused R5m worth of damage to municipal infrastructure, diverted police resources and had required more than R600 000 in overtime for law enforcement.

About 350 residents of Khayelitsha's BM section took to the streets on Monday morning to protest over houses and sanitation, forcing the closure of a section of the N2 highway.

They threw stones at police officers and passing vehicles, including five Golden Arrow buses.

Community leader Morris Sifo told the Cape Times residents had been living in dire conditions since 1987.

"It is not fair that we have to live in these conditions, while other parts of the area receive continuous upgrades," he said.

Smith defended Cape Town's record on service delivery and said the city was contending with historical backlogs and urbanisation.

"However, unlike many other metros, Cape Town has high levels of service delivery, with the lowest number of people not receiving basic services," he said.

Shouting and screaming

Meanwhile, Cabinet Ministers refused to bow to pressure to condemn the violent protests.

Deputy International Relations Minister Marius Fransman, who is also Western Cape ANC chairperson, told a National Assembly sitting that the protests were as a result of a lack of service delivery.

He rubbished allegations from the Democratic Alliance and the Congress of the People that it was part of an ANC Youth League attempt to make the city ungovernable.

"The reality is if there's protest action in other provinces, then they say there are service delivery problems. In the Western Cape there are service delivery problems," Fransman said.

Tensions rose in the house when Fransman was heckled several times, prompting chairperson Fatima Hajaig to intervene.

"If you want to shout and scream, I'll give you five minutes to shout and scream and then be quiet," Hajaig said.

Fransman went on to accuse the DA-led Western Cape government of implementing a skewed development pattern.

"The reality is if the premier of the province speaks of refugees, about black people, it shows what they are doing in this province," Fransman said.

"If former president De Klerk says homelands were not as bad a issue and people in Western Cape feel the brunt of that, that becomes a real problem."

Earlier in the house, both the DA and Cope criticised the African National Congress for not commenting on ANCYL calls to make the city [of Cape Town] ungovernable.

"The youth league threatens ungovernability (sic) in the morning and denies its involvement in violent protests in the evening," DA MP Debbie Schafer said.

She accused the Youth League of calling residents to protest by sms, pamphlets and loud-hailers at midnight.

"We know the DA delivers more than the ANC. If they can't win at the ballot box as a result of good service delivery, they render the province ungovernable by inciting violent protests," Schafer said.

Cope MP Alfred Kganare told the National Assembly the silence of the ANC could only mean its leadership approved of what the ANCYL was doing in the Western Cape.

"They [ANC] must not complain when what they are doing here happens in the rest of the country."


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