A vicious wave of protest swept over the country yesterday,
with Strand and Khayelitsha, outside Cape Town, being adversely affected.
The boiling dissidence overran several townships on Wednesday evening. Roads in an around Strand, Somerset West, Khayelitsha, Blackheath and Mfuleni were barricaded with burning debris and boulders. The N2 highway, between Somerset West and Sir Lowry’s Pass, was closed for most of Thursday, as law enforcement agencies struggled to gain control of the situation.
Shops and liquor stores were looted, structures were set
ablaze – police retaliated with rubber bullets and stun grenades, but sporadic protesters
proved hard to disperse.
Update on Cape Town protests
On Thursday evening, while some calm was restored to a number of areas, the situation in Strand, particularly in Lwandle township, remained volatile. At daybreak, the N2 was still closed in the vicinity of Sir Lowry’s village, with law enforcement urging motorists to make alternate travel arrangements.
According to the City of Cape Town’s director of safety and
security, Richard Bosman, at least 1000 Lwandle residents participated in the
protests. Eight people have since been arrested for their role in the uprising.
The spokesperson for the Ministry for Education in the Western
Cape, Jessica Shelver, noted that, on Friday morning, tensions in the area still
remained high. According to Shelver, schools in and around Lwandle have been
advised to close their doors for fear of reprisal. Shelver said:
“We are informed that the N2 is still closed and Lwandle township is closed down. Some buildings are still burning after being set alight last night, nobody is able to get in or out of the area.
We have therefore advised that all schools remain closed for today as well as
wesimply cannot risk any harm to staff and learners.”
The situation in Happy Valley and Khayelitsha, has, by all
accounts, simmered down. Law enforcement agencies have confirmed that they are
monitoring the situation closely.