'We are hungry': Lockdown food parcel protests hit Mitchells Plain and Alex

15 April 2020 - 07:41
By Iavan Pijoos
Police clashed with Mitchells Plain residents on Tuesday afternoon. File photo.
Image: Esa Alexander Police clashed with Mitchells Plain residents on Tuesday afternoon. File photo.

Several people were arrested and stores looted after protests over expected food parcel deliveries at Mitchells Plain in Cape Town.

Police spokesperson Brig Novela Potelwa said residents from Tafelsig took to the streets on Tuesday after allegedly being promised food parcels.

Several roads were barricaded with burning tyres and rocks.

Potelwa said officers who responded to the scene were pelted with stones.

Three people aged 16, 18 and 20 were arrested for public violence.

Meanwhile in Gatesville, a group of 16 suspects stormed a supermarket and threatened cashiers. The group fled the scene with five cash registers and groceries.

Potelwa said police responded swiftly and arrested four people aged between 21 and 24. Some of the stolen items were also recovered.

In Manenberg two wholesalers were broken into and groceries were stolen. No arrests were made.

Meanwhile police dispersed angry residents gathered at a school in Alexandra township in Johannesburg who broke lockdown rules, queuing for food parcels in an apparent misunderstanding. Good Samaritans had earlier delivered food parcels and promised to return to the area but did not.

Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubo told eNCA that NGOs should contact the city so that a centralised way of distributing food could be arranged.

“We are hungry. The lockdown needs to end and we want to go back to work,” one resident told the broadcaster. “We need to sell our fruits and vegetables again. Our stock is rotting because we are not selling.”