11 held as protest turns ugly

Eleven people were arrested in the Cape Town township of Khayelitsha as protests over toilets continued, Western Cape police said.

Captain Anneke van der Vyver said the suspects will appear in court today on charges of public violence.

The N2 highway was blocked with burning tyres until lunch time yesterday.

The protests began at 5.30am yesterday, with residents burning tyres over the city's decision to remove their toilets completely.

On Monday, Cape Town mayor Dan Plato authorised officials to swoop on Makhaza, in Khayelitsha, and remove 65 toilets. He said the toilets would only be returned once the residents had erected their own enclosures.

Plato claimed that the residents had promised in 2007 that if the city gave them one toilet each, they would build their own enclosures.

But several residents told Sowetan last week that they never made such a promise. They demanded that the city build proper concrete rooms for their outside toilets.

Community organisations have slammed both the ANC and DA.

Abahlali baseMjondolo activist Mzonke Poni, from QQ Section in Khayelitsha, accused the ANC of "using the poor for their own political gain ahead of next year's elections".

"The DA was also wrong - they should have held proper talks with the people, whether they felt they were led by the ANC Youth League or not. Removing people's toilets is a complete waste of taxpayers money," he said.

The Social Justice Coalition's Angy Peter, who lives in nearby RR section, Khayelitsha, also slammed the ANCYL and DA.

Peter said her organisation "condemns the incitement of violence by the ANCYL".

But she warned that the removal of the toilets was unconstitutional because everyone has a right to sanitation.

"Instead of rising above the dispute and reconciling with the residents of Makhaza, the city has embarked on collective punishment," she said.

"The removal of the toilets without any notice is unreasonable. Residents have gone from having an unacceptable level of sanitation (open air toilets) to no sanitation whatsoever," Peter said.

She slammed Plato's call on Monday for residents to burn tyres against the ANC.

"These words are also tantamount to incitement.

"As a leader we expect him to bring calm to such situations, not to put people's lives at risk by fuelling the fire," said Peter.