13 protesters arrested during anti-crime demonstrations in CT

Police lobbed stun grenades and used a water cannon to disperse protesters in Bonteheuwel.

Bonteheuwel residents during one of many anti-crime marches which took place across Cape Town on 25 September 2018. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Thirteen people were arrested during anti-crime demonstrations in Cape Town on Tuesday.

Police lobbed stun grenades and used a water cannon to disperse protesters in Bonteheuwel.

It was one of several neighbourhoods where residents had mobilised to vent their anger over high crime levels, especially gangsterism.

WATCH: Enough! Communities across CT rally together against gang violence

Disgruntled residents forced the closure of several roads across the city. They demanded authorities step up efforts to curb violence and gang-related crimes.

Unemployment and poverty eradication are among the issues community members feel lawmakers should prioritise.

At a meeting in Hanover Park, following Tuesday’s demonstrations, residents described reaching “a new level of despair” as violent crimes continue in their communities unabated.

One resident shared concerns for children in her community. “It’s unfair to our children. It’s unfair that they can’t go to school because of drugs and gangsterism.”

Another woman said that they were constantly living in fear: “We can’t go to the shop, we must live in fear. It’s unfair.”

Another local added: “It’s not about you and your family. It’s about everybody else also.”

City authorities say that organisers didn’t have permits to stage the widespread demonstrations. Some officials have suggested that a political motive gave rise to the unrest.

The most recent crime figures show the Western Cape had the highest number of gang killings with 808 murders recorded over the last financial year.

Reacting to the demonstrations on Tuesday, the City of Cape Town's JP Smith said the Western Cape government should be given control of policing. “At this stage, all public order police is under the control of the South African Police Service. I think it’s time for provincial government to be given control of police so that they can fix the mess national police have made of it. This can happen through the assignment of the function, and it would bring us closer to international best practice.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)