Violent Dunoon protests cause chaos on roads, suspension of MYCiti routes

Cape Town – The violent protest in Dunoon and Milnerton entered its fourth day on Saturday with the City of Cape Town reporting a number of road closures.

According to Richard Bosman, the executive director of safety and security in the City of Cape Town,  the following roads remained closed by lunchtime on Saturday:
* Potsdam Road closed between Malibongwe Road and Killarney Road
* Bosmansdam Road and Umuramba Road
* Bosmansdam Road and Democracy Way
* Freedom Road and Koeberg Road
* Umuramba Road and Racecourse Road
* Freedom Road and Printers Way

On Friday, there were calls for a lockdown of public transport operations in the area and the swift arrest of those responsible for torching a MyCiTi bus.
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A truck was set alight on Malibongwe Road during an ongoing taxi protest near Dunoon. The N7 was closed on several occasions on Friday after protesters attacked motorist with stones. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Protesters also set fire to a truck, tyres and debris, and stoned several vehicles, which led to road closures that caused traffic congestion and chaos in and around Milnerton, Dunoon and Table View.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Andrè Traut said two arrests have been made.

“On the N7, not far from Joe Slovo, a truck was set alight. Our forces will remain in the area to maintain law and order,” he said.

By yesterday morning, the N7 highway as well as Koeberg Road in Milnerton had been closed in both directions.

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Traffic officers watch as a burned-out truck is being towed away from the N7 near Dunoon. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

“We call on the City of Cape Town’s transport enforcement unit, the SAPS and the metro police to investigate these attacks and make swift arrests,” said the DA. “Damage to this (MyCiTi) service is damage to the lives of thousands of residents who make use of MyCiTi buses on a daily basis. It (service) cannot be attacked and disrupted for political gain.”

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said he had called on senior staff in the directorate to arrange for “an extended and intensive lockdown operation around public transport in Dunoon, to ensure that the perpetrators understand that selfish, violent and reckless behaviour has legal consequences”.

Smith said 71 traffic officers had been deployed in the affected areas to facilitate traffic flow. The metro police department’s tactical response team had also been deployed to support the SAPS public order policing unit.

“The unrest started earlier this week, allegedly in response to an operation by our traffic service around minibus taxis,” he said.

“Taxi drivers and owners believe that they should not be fined or arrested for offences, and that the city should first hold discussions with them about these offences (before taking action). This is a preposterous proposal.”

However, Dunoon Taxi Association secretary-general Frank Qotyiwe said the four associations operating in the area would not back down until the City of Cape Town heeded their call for the approval of off-route permits.

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Metro Police are standing next to tyres set alight next to the N7 near Du Noon. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

“We have been applying for permits for these routes, but to no avail. Instead, we are met with spot fines of R7500 or impoundments, which is ridiculous,” he said.

Qotyiwe said the four associations were pleading with the city’s law enforcement office to “suspend all traffic operations until we have had an opportunity to table our grievances to Felicity Purchase (mayco member for transport) and find an amicable solution to all our problems”.

He the associations understood the frustration of commuters, but could not abandon their fight as the fines were severely affecting their profitability. Purchase, who condemned the protest, said the Sanddrift MyCiTi station had been closed and MyCiTi operations on routes 261, 262 and 260 suspended until further notice.

Weekend Argus

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