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20 people arrested for public violence during protest at CT Civic Centre

Residents from the COVID-19, Level 2, SD and the Lockdown informal settlements are demanding that the City of Cape Town provide them with water, electricity and toilets.

Protestors run for cover after police fire stun grenades to disperse them during a protest at the Cape Town Civic Centre on 19 November 2020. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Twenty people have been arrested for public violence during a protest at the Civic Centre in Cape Town.

A group of residents from various informal settlements gathered at the centre and blocked entrances, demanding to speak to mayor Dan Plato over basic services.

After refusing to leave, police moved in and dispersed the crowd.

Residents from the COVID-19, Level 2, SD and the Lockdown informal settlements are demanding that the City of Cape Town provide them with water, electricity and toilets.

They occupied illegal land during the lockdown period.

Community leader Mabhelandile Twani said that for six months they had been without these basic services and they were being ignored.

"These lands that we have already occupied, it was land that was based on criminal activities. We didn't decide to go to the land. Conditions and circumstances pushed us out of the places we were renting."

The city said that it had been communicating for months that it was unable to provide immediate services, if at all, to all newly-formed settlements at the expense of the existing services and programmes planned in accordance with its budget.

The municipality said that it simply did not have unlimited resources.

The city added that the majority of the occupations had happened on land that was not viable, such as in flood-prone wetlands and low-lying areas.

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