CT CBD at a standstill after protests

Thousands descended on the CT CBD in violent riot-like protests, demanding better housing.

Protesters demonstrating in front of the Provincial Legislature in the Cape Town CBD on 30 October 2013. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Enraged street vendors in Cape Town's City Centre have called for more policing and decisive action after protesters ran amok, looting their stalls during a violent protest march.

Thousands of people from various areas, including Khayelitsha, Phillipi and Nyanga, converged on the CBD on Wednesday, where they marched to the Provincial Legislature demanding houses.

Demonstrations started on Wednesday morning when train services were affected after protestors placed rocks at the Nyanga Station.

Scenes of chaos erupted in when thousands of protestors demonstrated outside the Provincial Legislature.

Dozens of store owners were caught in the mix and had their businesses looted.

"They took all of our things, we're all suffering," one said.

Another said, "They were too many people, more than 2,000 of them, and they just kept on looting. How can I feed my kids? I have a child in university."

The demonstrators demanding better housing vowed to sleep outside the Provincial Legislature but dispersed when the rain started.

Meanwhile, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille's office has condemned the protest.

Western Cape ANC chairperson Marius Fransman says, "As the ANC, we reject the conduct of some of those protesters. I believe certain individuals behind the EFF have tried to destabilise the protest and created chaos."

But Zille's spokesperson Zak Mbhele says this is part of the ANC Youth League's campaign to make the province ungovernable.

"The office of the speaker of Parliament designated an official to receive a memorandum. He was turned away. They are not interested in really communicating their grievances."