Three buses, a truck and private vehicle were set alight on Thursday in Makhaza, Khayelitsha, along Baden Powell Drive, while several roads were blocked with burning tyres in a protest action over service delivery.
The unrest left some matric learners unable to get to their exam venues on time as protests erupted around the N2, causing heavy congestion.
Safety and Security executive director Richard Bosman said the directorate was alerted to the protests in the early hours on Thursday.
“Officers had been trying to bring it under control and roads have been closed off to protect motorists.”
Bosman said one of the officers had to call for assistance after a crowd arrived at his house and threatened to burn a City vehicle. A traffic patrol vehicle was damaged by the stoning. The officer was not injured.
Emergency Medical Services spokesperson Deanna Bessick said three male patients, who suffered head injuries after being stoned, were transported to Delft Community Health Clinic by two ambulances.
Golden Arrow Bus Services spokesperson Bronwen Dyke-Beyer confirmed that three of their buses were set alight. “Thankfully, no injuries were reported.”
Dyke-Beyer said they had to move their services to the old Makhaza terminus as a precautionary measure. “This year we have lost 11 buses, and each bus costs about R2.4 million.”
Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the department was concerned about learners who had difficulty in getting to their exam centres as a result of protest action affecting traffic routes.
Mayco member for transport Felicity Purchase said the City had to withdraw some of the Dial-a-Ride buses that served areas in Khayelitsha. She said protesters stoned one of their vehicles at about 5.45am yesterday.
The protest was organised by a new movement, Intlungu yaseMatyotyombeni (Pain of the Slums), based on areas occupied during the Covid-19 pandemic. Community leader Mzukisi Zwelibanzi said they were without access to water, toilets, electricity and housing.
Zwelibanzi said that two weeks ago they had protested at the City’s offices in Khayelitsha. The City had promised to respond to them after seven days but had not done so.
Another leader Mabhelandile Twani said they had been without water, toilets and power for six months. “We see ourselves treated as outsiders, not people who belong to South Africa, we are treated as animals, under a difficult period of corona.”
Mayco member for human settlements Malusi Booi said the City had been communicating for months that it was unable to provide immediate services, if at all, for all newly formed settlements.