WATCH | Bo-Kaap protesters block crane at high-rise building site

20 November 2018 - 16:16 By Natalie Elliott and COREY D SMITH

Residents protesting against a new development in the Bo Kaap clashed with police on Tuesday in Cape Town.

The standoff started at 1pm when residents joined hands to block the path of a large crane. Their bid to protect their heritage soon resulted in scuffles, with four arrests and multiple injuries. One man was dragged across the street by police.

"I was standing with a baby in my hands [when the stun grenade hit] ... I had to cup the baby between my arms and legs. He was shaking," said resident Natassia Veldtsman

Residents said they needed social housing but instead got a high-rise apartment building, which could result in their property rates increasing.

"These are massive developments going up here, they have not consulted the community and the way they acquired the ground is very suspect," said Noor Osman.

The Bo Kaap Civic Association is engaged in litigation over development in the area.

"We want to take an interdict against the city because they want to get the crane in and the community decided to start resisting," said Bo Kaap Civic Association vice-chairman Fowzia Achmat.

Residents said they were shocked by the "violent response" from the police.

"We have fought the struggle. We have fought for democracy. We have fought for liberation. This is nothing compared to what we did in the past," Achmat said.

One crane was on a steep hill in the neighbourhood at the foot of Lion's Head while another was stuck in Buitengracht Street causing massive traffic jams on one of Cape Towns main arterial roads by Tuesday afternoon.

Residents cheered as a tractor failed to pull the crane up the hill.


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