Grabouw on tenterhooks as nyalas patrol streets

There have been protests in the area for three days straight due to a lack of housing and services.

FILE: Hundreds gather outside the Theewaterskloof Municipal offices in Grabouw during protest in the area on 15 September, 2014. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Police have managed to arrest demonstrators in Grabouw where there's still a tense atmosphere following more clashes between police and stone throwing protesters.

A policeman has sustained minor injuries.

It's the third day of violent protests in the Overberg town following a march for houses and service delivery on Monday.

Rocks have been placed on several roads in the area and tyres have been set alight along Ou Kaapse Weg, a main road in Grabouw.

Police and traffic officers have managed to clear most of the roads in the town and the N2 Highway has been reopened.

Officers have been firing rubber bullets to disperse crowds and deal with sporadic clashes.

Nyalas are now patrolling the streets amid a tense atmosphere.

Western Cape traffic services say sporadic violent protests in the area are having a disastrous effect on motorists travelling through the community.

A section of the N2 Highway has been closed several times since Monday morning, due to protesters burning tyres and rubble strewn across the road.

Western Cape Traffic Chief Kenny Africa says additional traffic and police officers have been deployed to the scene.

He said the situation is problematic.

Earlier, a Grabouw NGO had to evacuate its premises and escort hospice patients under police escort to a neighbouring state health facility in Caledon.

The Thembalitsha Foundation​​ provides basic health services to those living with HIV and Aids.

The organisation has had trouble getting staff into the area.

DIVIDED COMMUNITY

The community now stands divided, with some residents calling for an end to the ongoing demonstrations as it's preventing some of their children from going to school.

Many locals say they just want normality to return to their community.

There have also been allegations the protests may be politically motivated with some saying the African National Congress (ANC) is instigating the violence while others blame the Democratic Alliance for what they claim is the party's unwillingness to render proper services.

The ANC maintains it's not responsible for the ongoing violence in Grabouw.

The party's Cobus Grobler, "The ANC wasn't part of any illegal action in Grabouw. The party is understanding of the community's problems."

Over 1,000 Grabouw residents marched to the Theewaterskloof Municipal offices on Monday where they handed over a list of grievances to Mayor Chris Punt.

It is the second memorandum that has been handed over to the municipality in two months.