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Calm restored in St Helena Bay after SAHRC mediation process over protests

Residents had been demonstrating since last Friday to raise concerns over a lack of housing and service delivery.

Police car/van. Picture: @SAPoliceService/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN – Access to roads in St Helena Bay on Thursday was reopened following days of violent protests. But, authorities urged motorists to still remain vigilant.

Residents had been demonstrating since last Friday to raise concerns over a lack of housing and service delivery.

Over the past few days, violent scenes played out in the communities of Laingville, The Cove, and Stompneusbaai.

Western Cape SA Human Rights Commissioner (SAHRC), Chris Nissen, facilitated a mediation process this week between leaders of the protesting communities and officials from the Saldanha Bay Municipality.

During the mediation process, authorities presented plans for housing developments earmarked for the three communities. Police also joined discussions and agreed to withdraw members of the public order policing unit as soon as calm was restored.

Nissen said that residents had complained about poor living conditions like still being forced to use pit toilets. Locals had also complained about police brutality after an 11-year-old boy was shot in the head when protests turned violent on Friday.

The police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), is investigating and the child was admitted to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

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