One death as police disperse Mitchell’s Plain gathering

Police search for protesters at the Siqalo informal settlement near Mitchells Plain after a protest for better services turned violent. Photo by Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp

The conflict between the Siqalo and Mitchell’s Plain communities flared up late on Thursday, despite the suspension by Siqalo of their protest action. Police fired on a gathering of Mitchell’s Plain residents, killing one and wounding two.

One person was killed and two suffered gunshot wounds in Mitchell’s Plain late Thursday night when police clashed with Mitchell’s Plain community members says Western Cape SAPS.

Thursday’s incident followed two days of protest by the Siqalo community demanding land for housing and provision of better services from the City of Cape Town.

Siqalo protesters barricaded Jakes Gerwel Drive with burning tyres and communal waste containers, resulting in a counter-protest from residents of Colorado Park, Mitchell’s Plain.

Leaders of both communities held several marathon meetings on Thursday agreeing to work together to find a lasting solution.

The protest was suspended after the meetings. But it again flared up sporadically late on Thursday night as the Mitchell’s Plain community was not aware Siqalo had suspended their action.

The gathering was in response  to messages circulating on social media,” said Norman Jantjies from Mitchell’s Plain United Residents Association (MURA).

Luvuyo Booi, Siqalo community leader confirmed the gathering.

“Yes Mitchell’s Plain community gathered but no-one from Siqalo was in attendance. We agreed as Siqalo community to call off the protest till we meet the City of Cape Town on Saturday,” he says.

Booi urged MURA to calm the Mitchell’s Plain community.

Elitsha talked to Roy Nobatana who has stayed in Siqalo since 2012.

“Siqalo residents never went for the clash yesterday.  The Mitchell’s Plain community wanted to come for us but were intercepted by police. I understand the owner of the fruit and vegetable shop is behind it. We believe he summoned gangsters to join them so that they could attack us,” says Nobatana.

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He says all men in Siqalo currently patrol Siqalo the whole night and are well prepared for any attacks from Mitchell’s Plain.

Meanwhile according to Western Cape police, 13 people from Lentegeur appeared in Mitchell’s Plain and others in Athlone magistrates’ courts on Friday on charges of public violence.

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About Bernard Chiguvare 50 Articles
Originally from Zimbabwe and since 2014 I been contributing to different publications in South Africa. My area of focus as a reporter is on the rights of vulnerable communities and foreign nationals in any country.