Phillip Bam, Grassy Park CPF
The Grassy Park Community Police Forum (CPF) notes with concern the rampant violence gripping our country at this time.
Our own communities of the greater Grassy Park area recently had to endure violence and disruption as housing protests became out of hand. Children and youth were at the forefront of burning tyres and stoning of cars. Shops were stoned and goods looted. We fear that people might retaliate and the youngsters involved in this wanton violence could get hurt.
The CPF understands the genuine frustrations of the backyard dwellers in Parkwood Estate and people of the area being on housing waiting lists for decades.
The Edward Road housing project in Ottery has now been delayed for decades. It boggles the mind why the City of Cape Town can’t get these projects off the ground.
We believe these protests could have been avoided if the City applied its mind to sorting out the delays more speedily.
However, while we understand the need to protest, we must condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence that flows from these frustrations. In most cases as we observed, criminal elements take advantage of the situation and resort to violence and looting. I saw youngsters starting fires and attempting to damage the traffic lights. These were not people looking for housing. These were hooligans out to take advantage and causing damage. Children in school uniforms were wheeling tyres to be burnt in the street. The Grassy Park CPF calls on parents to exercise control over their children. Children should not be allowed to put themselves in harms way.
The CPF calls upon the housing authorities to expedite the housing planning and to communicate regularly with the community. We call upon the law enforcement authorities to be proactive and protect law abiding citizens and their property as mandated by the constitution and the laws of the land. We call upon leaders in the various communities to act responsibly and not use language that will incite violence. We call for calm and dignified protest.
Everybody in the community has a responsibility to work together for peace and a stable society and safe environment to live in.
* The City of Cape Town, responsible for the Edward Road housing project, and the provincial Department of Human Settlements have said they are working tirelessly to deal with the housing issues. Nathan Adriaanse, spokesperson for the provincial department of human settlements said the planning process alone takes between
18 and 24 months, while Mayor Dan Plato said there were processes that needed to be followed.
He asked residents that be patient while the correct and legal processes were being carried out.