Two dead, 21 schools closed, 20 arrested as service delivery protests rock Western Cape

12 April 2019 - 12:18 By Naledi Shange
Members of the Red Ants monitor would-be land invaders in Lwandle. The DA's premier candidate, Alan Winde, called for the 'immoral protest organisers' to be arrested.
Members of the Red Ants monitor would-be land invaders in Lwandle. The DA's premier candidate, Alan Winde, called for the 'immoral protest organisers' to be arrested.
Image: Aron Hyman

The Democratic Alliance on Friday painted a grim picture of the disruption caused by service delivery protests in several townships this week, with at least two people losing their lives.

"I understand from the provincial department of education that 21 schools were closed with around 25,000 learners not attending class due to fears for their safety. This infringement on the rights of our children is shocking," said Western Cape community safety MEC and premier candidate Alan Winde.

Beside the disruption to schooling, there disruptions reported at health-care facilities.

"The provincial department of health reports that the Nomzamo Community Day Centre in Strand is still closed as staff are unable to get to work. This means that the 375 patients that frequent this facility daily are not able to receive necessary services.

"[On Thursday], the EMS were challenged in transferring patients from primary health care facilities to hospital, while the Khayelitsha Hospital had to function on skeleton staff. I commend the staff of our public facilities, who, despite all the difficulties, kept services going at the hospital," Winde added.

He said at least 20 protesters had been arrested in Lwandle.

"I call on the police to bring this same energy to arresting the instigators of yesterday's Khayelitsha protests," Winde said.

Two people had died in protests in Caledon earlier this month. Winde expressed concern at this number escalating.

"We are facing a situation in which more lives could be lost as a result of immoral protest organisers. This irresponsible, thug-like behavior and action must stop immediately," he said.

"The lawlessness we've experienced over the past few days has clear political motivations, while criminals are also taking advantage of this opportunity. We all have the right to protest, but it must be done in a peaceful manner, without infringing on the rights of others."

Winde said the protest action had been sparked by a number of issues, including the eviction of land invaders in some areas, large water bills in others and land grabs in another.

There were also reports of looting at foreign-owned shops.

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