Mbalula steps into Imizamo Yethu crisis

24 July 2017 - 06:56
By Farren Collins
Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula. File photo.
Image: Masi Losi Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula. File photo.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula engaged with community leaders from Imizamo Yethu late on Sunday‚ after violent protests in the area resulted in the death of a 19-year-old man the day before.

Mbalula kept residents and media waiting as he was due to hold talks on the ongoing violence over housing delivery in the township situated in the Cape Town fishing village of Hout Bay.

Arriving just before 6pm‚ the minister then held a closed-door stakeholder meeting with city officials and leaders from two groups within the community‚ before a planned walkabout to engage with residents.

Earlier community leader Mkhululi Ndude had said he expected Mbalula to bring clear plans to end the violence in the township‚ which also saw the homes of three leaders torched since Thursday.

Since protests first started earlier this month over the slow pace of a super-blocking project to build new homes with better amenities‚ the community has been divided into two groups: Those who wanted the project to continue and those who did not.

Ndude said most residents were in favour of the project because "it will benefit the community".

He said that those opposing the development were the ones causing violence and were misinformed about the project.

"This group is a small minority but they are very violent. They think that people will be moved out of Hout Bay but that is not the case. If they attended meetings and engaged with us they would know this.

"What they are doing is not protesting. It is criminal and not the feeling of most of the community. We want the minister to bring an end to it."

On Saturday evening the two groups met with city officials and SA police service members and agreed to end the violence so that the super-blocking project could continue.

Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille said in a statement that work on the project would resume on Monday.

"The City welcomes the peace deal that was reached between the two groups of community leaders‚" De Lille said.

"We are hopeful that the peace will hold so that we can continue with the project.

"The two community leader groups came to an agreement in which the one group was updated about the super-blocking project and they agreed to engage the community at large to put an end to the violence so that the project can continue."

Resident and ANC deputy secretary for the Hout Bay branch‚ Ziyanda Phandle‚ said they were satisfied that the city was committed to completing the project.

She said: "The city is committed. After we protested earlier this month because we were not happy about the pace of the super-blocking‚ we engaged with the city and they started to implement everything they had promised us‚ including bringing electricity to Madiba Square. We are committed to help the city complete the super-blocking because people will benefit from it."