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Tensions high between police and CT community after homes demolished

Burning tyres and rocks have been used to block major routes leading into the community.

FILE: In this file photo, law enforcement officers are pictured on scene where Kraaifontein residents barricaded roads after their homes were demolished on 26 July 2020. Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN – There’s a massive standoff between police and angry residents in Kraaifontein after authorities demolished several homes in the area.

Burning tyres and rocks have been used to block major routes leading into the community.

Residents are accused of building their homes on pre-owned land, but they said they could not afford the rentals being offered in the area.

The tensions in Kraaifontein come a day after a Shoprite truck was petrol bombed during a protest in Mfuleni, while several vehicles were stoned in Kalkfontein. It’s understood those incidents are also related to housing issues.

City of Cape Town Law Enforcement’s Wayne Dyason said: “Protest action involving the stoning, as well as the burning of vehicles and tyres have occurred at a number of locations. Stoning incidents occurred at the Stellenbosch Arterial, and between Wesbank and Delft.”

A policing expert weighed in and said local government needed to start a dialogue with protesting communities.

Over the past few weeks violent protests have erupted in areas including Delft, Mfuleni, Khayelitsha and Kalkfontein.

Eldred De Klerk, a senior policing and social conflict specialist at the Africa Centre for Security and Intelligence Praxis, said the protests highlighted a local governance issue.

“They need to make sure that the gap between local government and people is addressed, because they’re not there on the streets listening. It’s about poverty and the recognition of their plight.”

He said governing officials needed to communicate with disgruntled residents.

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