One dead as rival Mitchells Plain protesters clash
At least one person died when a taxi ploughed through a barricade during violent protests in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town, on Wednesday night.
However, a community leader said the driver "had no choice" as his vehicle, with passengers inside, had come under attack, seemingly by protesters from Mitchells Plain.
There were also reports of at least two injuries, although the nature and cause of the injuries have not yet been confirmed. One community leader said that ambulances could not get to the injured because roads had been blocked.
Jakes Gerwel Drive and Highlands Drive were among the roads closed by the protesters.
Live rounds were also being fired on Wednesday night, prompting police to return fire using rubber bullets.
Mitchells Plain woke up to protests on May 2 2018. The protest was over land and a lack of service delivery.
The death comes in the aftermath of demonstrations by residents of the Siqalo informal settlement who have, since Tuesday night, been protesting. They are demanding land and the provision of basic services. But neighbouring residents from Mitchells Plain - who are "fed up" at the regular road blockages - retaliated and took to the streets themselves.
City of Cape Town law enforcement inspector Wayne Dyason told TimesLIVE on Wednesday that the situation was "very volatile".
"The community of Colorado have gathered on Jakes Gerwel Drive and Highlands Drive to voice their opposition to what's been going on today and last night. Then a taxi came through and there was an argument between him and the protesters there. And then he [the taxi driver] continued driving at high speed past the protesters, hitting one person who was seriously injured. That person just passed away according to my information. So we have one fatality," Dyason said shortly before 10pm.
However, Highlands Valley neighbourhood watch chairperson Byron de Villiers said the taxi driver didn't have a choice.
"They were smashing in his windows and he had people inside. He was desperately trying to get away. It won't help to crucify him now; it's a bad situation here. Gangsters have now come here and are firing live rounds at the police and the police are retaliating. This thing is getting out of hand, it's not going to end," he said.
Community Policing Forum Sector 5 Lentegeur chairperson Faizel Flowers described the scenes on Wednesday as "like a war zone".
"I don’t think this thing is going to die down quickly, because these people aren’t going to rest," he said.
Flowers said the police initially fired teargas before “bad elements” started firing live ammunition.
De Villiers said he believed the commotion would continue throughout the night.