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[UPDATE] Human Settlements Dept condemns violent Parkwood protests

Violent demonstrations erupted earlier on Sunday when hundreds of people took to the streets demanding land and housing.

More than 200 residents have taken to the streets in anger, demanding land and housing. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Department of Human Settlements says it strongly condemns the violent protest which erupted in Parkwood earlier on Sunday.

This comes after hundreds of residents took to the streets in protest for land and adequate housing.

While residents claim that the demonstrations started peacefully, violent clashes between protesters and authorities soon broke out seeing police firing rubber bullets to disperse crowds.

The Department of Human Settlements says while they respect the right to protest, violence and destruction cannot be tolerated.

Human Settlement Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela says, “The protest action that we’ve seen in Parkwood and other areas across the Western Cape is very worrying, and as the government, we cannot condone land invasion and lawlessness.”

The MEC adds that he has received a memorandum of grievances from Parkwood councillor William Akim, and has engaged the leadership about a meeting to discuss possible solutions.

“I hope now that the situation will return to normal. I’m prepared to listen to their grievances so that we can see how we deal with them.”

PROTESTS DIE DOWN

Protests in Parkwood have died down and police remain on high alert.

Violent demonstrations erupted earlier on Sunday when hundreds of people took to the streets demanding land and housing.

There’s currently heavy police presence after angry residents attacked the authorities with stones and petrol bombs.

The protests come after Parkwood community members held a peaceful protest on Prince George Drive between Parkwood and Southfield on Saturday night.

However, at around 6pm on Saturday more people joined and stayed overnight.

Resident Insaaf John explains what had happened.

“When I opened my eyes, I saw police demolishing what we built on Saturday. They woke people up with bullets, they threw a teargas in my neighbour’s yard, and she’s an old lady with cancer.”

Mariam Peterson says residents are not the cause of the violence.

“We had a peaceful protest until the government came and made it a war. So, what are we going do? They blocked M5 on a Sunday, do they not think that we can do the same on a Monday?”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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