30 June 2016
On Wednesday night at about 6 pm, hundreds of residents shutdown the N2 highway with burning tyres. The protest is over the ward 40 councillor candidate for the ANC, who, residents say, was chosen without their consent or knowledge.
Ward 40 is made up of Barcelona, Kanana, Europe and Section 3.
Resident Zukiswa Plaatjies told GroundUp that unhappiness started weeks ago when the community found out that the candidate they had nominated, Bongani Mbili, had been removed from the list, and replaced by Bongani Ngcombolo.
“The ANC put Ngcombolo on the list without consulting the community or coming to introduce him to us. They have been promising us for weeks now to do so, but nothing has happened.
“Two weeks ago we even went to the provincial offices of the ANC and protested hoping to get answers and clarity about what was happening, but nothing was said.
“A meeting was announced by the ANC for this past Saturday and Monday where these issues were to be addressed, but even that never materialised.
“So we got together as residents and ANC supporters and planned a protest, to shut down ward 40 and the N2 so that we could be heard,” said Plaatjies.
During the protest, two buses were set alight and stones were thrown at metro police vehicles. Residents say they only threw stones after tear gas was used and they were shot at with rubber bullets.
Golden Arrow Bus Service spokesperson Bronwen Dyke said, “It was very fortunate that no injuries were sustained and through the hard work of our officials on the ground all the passengers were assisted from the scene. We are operating as per normal but are keeping a very close eye on things.”
In a statement, provincial ANC spokesperson Yonela Diko said, “The ANC in the Western Cape condemns the disruption and damage that happened on the N2 highway last night which involved the burning of two buses. We want to state it clearly that there are no ANC structures that were protesting last night. These are acts of individuals who are taking advantage of problems we have had with candidate list processes to perpetuate a state of chaos that allows them to loot and rob innocent people.”
But Plaatjies said they (the community) loved the ANC and would continue supporting it, but the party had to learn how to respect and treat its people. She said the community wanted Mbili as a ward councillor because he was an old man who understood the people and had faced many struggles, whereas Ngcombolo was “a youngster”, unable to deal with people, much like the previous ward councillor, “a young man who was hardly available to deal with issues affecting the community”.
The residents said they would set up a meeting to discuss further steps. They said they would not stop protesting until the municipal elections on 3 August.