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STATEMENT BY ALDERMAN JP SMITH

The City of Cape Town is alarmed by the acts of violence that played out in Vrygrond near Muizenberg this past weekend. The unrest is related to an illegal land occupation in the area.

Just after 10:00 on Sunday, 13 May 2018, various City Departments participated in the removal of 62 structures that had been erected illegally. As the operation came to a conclusion, City enforcement staff were attacked by a crowd of approximately 100 persons who pelted stones and half-bricks at the officers. They responded with rubber rounds.

A few hours later, a ward councillor was held hostage during a community meeting and her vehicle was subsequently torched. She was escorted from the area by the South African Police Service.

Overnight, a group of people targeted the City’s Coastal Park landfill site which is adjacent to Vrygrond. They set alight three heavy machines, a quad bike and a staff canteen. Later, in Capricorn Business Park, two premises were set alight.

The City’s enforcement services will remain in the area to monitor the situation, along with the South African Police Service.

While we are still finalising costs, it would appear that the damage caused to one piece of equipment alone is estimated at approximately R7,5 million. The City will do everything possible to minimise any potential service delivery disruptions as a result of the damage caused.

That said, there is absolutely no justification for these acts of violence and destruction. We call on anyone with information about those responsible for the malicious damage to property to report it to the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre by dialling 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone.

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