Ricochet News

‘Nelson Mandela Bay land invaders will be dealt with decisively’

By Afikile Lugunya - Apr 6, 2018
‘Nelson Mandela Bay land invaders will be dealt with decisively’

Responding to news of a violent protest by Izinyoka residents that led to the blocking off of the R75 Uitenhage Road on Thursday, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Councillor Nqaba Bhanga, said the municipality will not allow the illegal allotment of public land in the Bay.

“President [Cyril] Ramaphosa has instructed us to deal with illegal land invasions decisively,” he told RNEWS.

Izinyoka, Kwadwesi and Joe Slovo residents embarked on the protest in response to the demolition of their shacks at Izinyoka, next to the M14, by Nelson Mandela Metro officials assisted by the Metro Police.

Apparently, the residents had put up the structures following a call by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema, that they take the land.

The residents reportedly named the new settlement, Julius Malema, in honour of the EFF Commander in Chief.

Police Spokesperson, Captain Andre Beetge, said that the demolitions started at about 21:00 on Wednesday night and by 01:00am, angry residents started blocking the Old Uitenhage Road and M14 with rocks, rubble and burning tyres.

“On the arrival of the SAPS Public Order Police Unit (POPS), police were pelted with stones while they cleared and opened the roads again.

“A public violence case was opened by police for this incident,” he described.

“By 05:30 on Thursday, these protestors also blocked the R75 with burning rubble and tyres and POPS again needed to intervene and open the road.

“At 07:30, the M14 was once again closed off by the protestors with rocks and burning tyres, but the R75 was opened for traffic between PE and Uitenhage.”

He added that a group of about 200 to 300 protestors demanded to be addressed by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Councillors at the M14, and SAPS officers, who attempted to re-open the road were met by a stone-throwing crowd.

“By 11:00, the group erupted into the further burning of tyres on the M14 on which POPS needed to use a water cannon, stun grenades and rubber rounds to disperse the group and stabilise the area.

“One police member was also injured in the process when a rock hit him on his chin and collarbone. He was taken from the scene to get medical assistance,” Captain Beetge described.

“By 13:00, the NM Metro team arrived to continue the demolishing of the illegal structures.

“A further case of damaging of infrastructure was opened for the burning of tyres on the M14 road.”

The Motherwell Cluster Commander, Major General Dawie Rabie added; "I have given instructions for a full investigation into these damaging of our infrastructure (roads), and we are expecting to make arrests soon.

“We cannot allow our roads to be damaged this way and the lives of our road users to be put in danger. Even the safety of our policemen and women are threatened by these rock-throwing protestors."

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