Port Elizabeth – Hundreds of residents of the Ikamvelihle settlement in Nelson Mandela Bay barricaded roads on Tuesday and demanded to see Deputy Mayor Mongameli Bobani.
Police spokesperson Captain Andre Beetge said the residents had barricaded the R335 near Motherwell with burning rubble and tyres.
“Local councillors attempted to negotiate with them, but they insisted to be addressed by the deputy mayor,” he said.
Bobani was engaging with community members from Wells Estate, who had been forcefully removed after illegally occupying land owned by the municipality at the time of the protests.
The evicted residents took to the streets in violent protests which left a number of vehicles damaged. Some protesters were arrested.
Bobani told the residents that he was working with the relevant ward councillors to find solutions to the challenges.
Beetge said, by 12:30, another 60 residents of NU29, Motherwell, had blocked the R334 road with concrete pipes and burning tyres, demanding the same as the Ikamvelihle group. He said the protesters were told that Bobani would address them on Wednesday.
“The protest actions were then abandoned by them and the roads were reopened. No further barricades or incidents were reported,” he said
Beetge confirmed that a case of damaging of infrastructure was opened.
Ikamvelihle station commander Lieutenant Colonel Nomsa Mtshagi said the damaging of road surfaces on the R334 and R335 was causing driving hazards for all road users.
“Our community has the right to protest, but where these protests pose harm to property and life, the SAPS will need to act against perpetrators.”