OPINION

Municipal and private property damaged during Brackenfell protest – Dan Plato

Cape Town Mayor says EFF’s violation of protest conditions would need to be taken into account by police in future

Municipal and private property damaged during Brackenfell protest

20 November 2020

The City of Cape Town is determining the cost of damages to municipal property during the EFF protest in Brackenfell today, with the intent of recovering these through civil action. Preliminary reports indicate a fire engine was torched, roads and traffic lights were damaged, and a field was set alight by EFF protesters. Car dealership windows were smashed at the corner of Paradys and Old Paarl Road, with private vehicles damaged due to stoning and several shops looted according to reports.

The City notes the violation of national lockdown regulations, forceful attempts to violate the South African Police Services’ (SAPS) conditions placed on the number of protesters, and the violation of the EFF’s own commitment of non-violence to both the police and the Western Cape High Court. This after Judge Siraj Desai refused to grant an urgent interdict against today’s protest in Brackenfell on the basis that there would be no violence.

‘I strongly condemn the violent actions and violation of agreed conditions with the SAPS and High Court that took place during the EFF protest in Brackenfell today. The EFF made it clear that they have no regard for the rule of law, and the City Manager has indicated to me that senior officials are assessing the cost of the damage to city infrastructure. Once a full assessment has been done, the City will be recovering these costs from the EFF. I want to assure the public that we will not tolerate lawlessness in this City and the EFF will be held accountable for the damage caused. Where private property has been damaged during today's protest action, I want to encourage property owners to alert the City so that our legal team can assess the feasibility of private property owners joining the city's case against the EFF,’ said Executive Mayor Alderman Dan Plato.

Mayor Plato said while he could not speak for the SAPS, today’s violation of protest conditions would need to be taken into account by police in future, and should form part of the record going forward.

Metro Police, Law Enforcement and Traffic officials joined the SAPS Public Order Policing effort in Brackenfell today.

‘I commend the efforts of the SAPS, Metro Police, Law Enforcement and Traffic officials, as well as the contributions made by the NHW and CPF community networks. Through these efforts, an extremely volatile situation was kept largely under control, protecting the public and limiting damage to municipal and private property,’ said Mayco Member for Safety and Security Alderman JP Smith.

The City respects the rule of law, including the right of citizens to assemble provided this is done peacefully and with respect to the rights of others.

Issued by Greg Wagner, Spokesperson to the Executive Mayor, 20 November 2020