SAPS spokesperson, Captain Mali Govender released a statement on Umhlobo Wenene FM regarding the current protest taking place on the R67 at the Air School intersection. Two men were arrested she reported.
LISTEN: STATEMENT by MALI GOVENDER
New Rest residents, as well as people living in Ndlovini and Nemato with informal housing took to the streets early this morning for another day of protest. Tensions escalated early with live bullets being shot from protesters, and SAPS reacting with rubber rounds.
Neighbouring communities said they heard shots from as early as 9am this morning, all the while the angry protesters brought traffic to a halt.
SAPS members said that the protest had turned volatile and dangerous with two officers injured by flying rocks in the cross action.
A police car had also been stoned in the process. Public order police arrived shortly after 11am, and took control. Reports have come that a directorate of Human Settlements have arrived to negotiate with the aggrieved community, but for now, the R67 remains on shutdown.
Municipal spokesperson, Cecil Mbolekwa, said that municipal manager, Rolly Dumezweni had managed to agree to a meeting in the committee room around 2pm. He said he had very little information but could confirm that all parties were negotiating. Mbolekwa said that Human Settlements officials were in Port Alfred this morning but would only meet with the protest leaders at the Ndlambe municipal offices and declined to go to the protesters. “It was very difficult, even for them to go there,” he said.
Mbolekwa said he cannot confirm whether the issue will be resolved today but that he was hoping an agreement could be met. “I’m also crossing my fingers. I was worried that there would be no meeting at all, and the situation would be the same,” he said.
He said that the municipality had been engaging with the protesters and are working hard to find a solution. “We have to follow procedure, but we cannot get through to them. There are so many houses needed. It is not only New Rest, there are many people waiting. What about the others? If we do this, what about them? There are procedures,” he said.
“Everybody must try an accommodate each other,” said Mbolekwa.