Media: N2 is next, say Site C protesters

5 05 2009

May 04 2009 at 12:41PM
By Esther Lewis
Source: Cape Argus

Residents of Site C in Khayelitsha have cut off access to a section of Lansdowne Road by digging more trenches in the road and have threatened to target the N2 next if they are not provided with basic services.

“We want to take this to the N2 where it will affect the white people,” said one of the men behind the protests. He said while they were trying to make a point in Site C, they wanted their struggle to be seen and felt by the affluent.
Last week they dug one trench across Lansdowne Road, which had since been half-filled with rocks to make it easier for motorists to get across.

But at the weekend, four more trenches were dug, making it nearly impossible for taxis and smaller cars to cross without damaging their vehicles.

Late on Sunday shattered glass, rocks, and rubbish lined the road. Residents had moved five large rubbish containers into the middle of the road and emptied the contents into the street, while logs were also used to barricade the road.

Children seemed to make the most of the situation by playing street soccer in the virtually empty road, where protesting residents said many lives had been claimed in the past as residents were forced to cross it to empty buckets, or to use the bushes by the railway line as toilets.

Residents also set a DA billboard with a smiling Helen Zille’s face alight. But the man said that they did not particularly care which party was running the province; all they wanted were services.

Those living in the BT section along the railway line have been burning tyres, stoning vehicles and digging trenches in Lansdowne Road since Monday.

On Friday evening, a set of traffic lights were knocked to the ground and the bulbs stolen from their sockets. A resident predicted that someone would dig into the ground and make an illegal electricity connection.

Rubber bullet casings also dotted the road, with two people at a bus stop showing their wounds. One man had been shot in the elbow and the other in the buttocks. They claimed they were just standing around when police shot at them after dark.

Now locals are also claiming that they are being intimidated by taxi owners and taxi drivers. On Sunday several residents said a mob of about 40 taxi owners marched down Lansdowne Road, beating people with sticks.

Residents claimed that taxi owners had smashed shack windows with stones because the protest action was impacting on their business.

Because the BT section of Lansdowne Road is closed, all taxis and buses were forced to reroute and several people had to travel quite a distance to use public transport.

Police spokesperson Mthokozisi Gama said they would continue to monitor the situation, but said he was unaware of any incidents involving taxi owners or drivers.

o This article was originally published on page 3 of Cape Argus on May 04, 2009

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