Working class activists closed numerous roads on the Cape Flats at the start of a “total shutdown” of the city on Tuesday.
There were reports of teargas being fired by the SA Police Service‚ and the City of Cape Town said the provincial joint operations centre had received information that live ammunition had been fired in Kensington.
Roads closed shortly after the protests began at 5am included Ottery Road and Voortrekker Road. Bellville taxi rank was also reportedly closed.
Proclaiming that nothing has changed for them since the fall of apartheid‚ the activists said they aimed to close as many of the city’s key roads as possible.
Organiser Henriette Abrahams‚ from Bonteheuwel‚ said protesters would close roads leading to the N2‚ M5 and M3. The protests are due to end at 10am.
Abrahams insisted the protests would be peaceful. “We just need the government to hear us ... all tiers of government‚” she said.
Two weeks ago‚ protesters who blockaded roads in the Cape Flats suburb of Bishop Lavis were greeted by riot police‚ and Abrahams said she expected the same to happen on Tuesday.
“But we are not looking for confrontation. We are looking simply to disrupt‚” she said. “We cannot have life continuing as normal while people are dying on a daily basis.”
A statement from a group called the Western Cape Total Shutdown Communities said working class people continued to live in abject poverty and faced unprecedented levels of unemployment and violence.
“We cannot afford food and basic necessities such as water‚ electricity and transport‚ and added to this we live in overcrowded communities because of a lack of decent housing‚” said the statement.