'You do nothing for us,' Zille told at Mitchells Plain community meeting
3 May 2018
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille's bodyguards had to escort her from a community meeting in Mitchells Plain after residents from the area and from the nearby Siqalo informal settlement turned on her on Thursday afternoon.
Moments earlier, residents had agreed to a ceasefire at a separate meeting after tensions between the two came to a head on Wednesday evening.
This followed violent protests by Siqalo residents over service delivery and housing.
The protesters barricaded several entrance and exit roads to Mitchells Plain. This in turn, sparked the ire of Mitchells Plain residents who said they were frustrated at having to bear the brunt of the protest.
One road - Jakes Gerwel Drive - separates Mitchells Plain and Siqalo.
A man was also killed on Wednesday after a taxi ploughed into a group of protesters.
Speaking to residents at the Mitchells Plain community meeting, attended by Mitchells Plain and Siqalo residents, Zille attempted to address the housing concerns.
However, she was eventually heckled and shouted at.
Said Zille: "People say: 'Why don't you put in electricity?' But it is illegal to do that on waterlogged ground. I can't make promises, I can only make proposals."
ANC provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs stopped Zille from returning to her seat after her speech.
"You can't be condescending when you talk to people about basic services. You need to tell them about the plans and the Western Cape's under-expenditure," he said.
'Reignite the war'
Community members, however, became incensed as some accused Jacobs of using the protest for political mileage. Others demanded that Zille provide funding.
"Where is the money? Where is the money? You do nothing for us. You are all too black to help us," one Mitchells Plain community member shouted.The meeting escalated when more people started shouting.
Meanwhile, Community Safety MEC Dan Plato appealed to residents to not embark on protest action, which was apparently scheduled for later on Thursday.
"This will reignite the war," Plato said.
There had been talk of a march planned for 16:00, after an article was carried in the community newspaper on Thursday, said Mitchells Plain community leader Byron de Villiers.
"We have sent messages to the community, telling them that there's no march," he said.
It was not clear however, whether some residents would go ahead with the march despite this.
Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa has dismissed rumours circulating on social media that several main roads in the area will be closed at 16:00 on Thursday.
Siqalo community leader Monwabisi Futshane said that, following their meeting with Mitchells Plain community leaders, they also urged peace.
"We realised we don't have a problem with them (Mitchells Plain residents) and they don't have a problem with us. Our problem is with government."