HoutBay Protest: Causes, Fast Facts About The Ongoing Uproar

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Houtbay Protest: Protests continued on Monday morning in Houtbay, a town near Cape Town, leading to the destruction of properties in the area and throwing traffic into disarray.

Violent protests broke out in the area on Saturday over a lack of electricity and decent formal housing in Imizamo Yethu.

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In March, Mayor Patricia de Lille had promised to erect better housing for residents in Imizamo Yethu community after the community was torn by a huge fire. The fire destroyed hundreds of home and subsequently displaced many residents.

Three months after the fire, thousands of residents still leave in cold temporary structures, as De Lille has not shown up since then. This was the reason why the embarked on the protest.

Here’s What You Need To Know

Protesters insisted that they want to meet Mayor De Lille

An estimated 100 residents of Imizamo Yethu on Wednesday demanded to speak only to Mayor De Lille. They insisted that they will not speak to any other City official. But the mayor said she will meet them once they suspend their violent protest action.

“Once they are prepared to speak to the city and not hold the city at ransom with such protests, the mayor is more than willing to engage with residents over the Houtbay protest,” said De Lille’s spokesperson Zara Nicholson.

A formal housing project is currently underway.

Cape Town city officials confirmed to reporters that a formal housing project is currently underway fro displaced residents. However, affected residents said they are angry at the slow pace of rebuilding the fire-torn community.

They questioned why De Lille have not been able to visit Hout Bay like she ‘rushed’ to the aid of rich people in Knysna (a town in Cape Town largely occupied by whites) when a devastating fire broke out in the area two months ago.

SAPS has beefed up sufficient number of its members at the protest scene

Police spokesperson Andre Traut told reporters on Monday morning that the SAPS is working closely with the law enforcement agencies to quell the Houtbay protest and to restore tranquillity to the area.

He said police officers deployed to the area will stand by until “we are satisfied that the threat to the area has been alleviated.”

Residents have appealed to police to stop provoking them

Residents in the community asked the policemen deployed to the area to stop provoking them by allowing them to pour out their grievances. This was after police started shooting stun grenades.

A resident said babies are being affected, inhaling tear-gas and vehicles have been overturned, windows smashed and temporary food trucks destroyed. Victoria Road and Main Road in Hout Bay have also been closed.

Calls have been made for ‘rioters’ to be prosecuted

City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety JP Smith has asked the police to use video footage of Houtbay ‘rioters’ to ensure they are brought to book.

Smith condemned those who damaged state and private property in the course of the protest, saying “it is clear it is no longer a matter of community protest but has now entered the realm of sheer criminality.”

“The situation in Hout Bay has become serious. Every available city traffic law enforcement and metro police resource have been dispatched to Hout Bay to attempt to contain the situation. Their [the protesters’] behaviour is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated in a democratic dispensation,” he added.

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