City charges Gatvol

A protest in AZ Berman Drive in Beacon Valley.

Fadiel Adams of Lentegeur, the spokesperson for Gatvol Capetonian, faces criminal charges for the R1.5 million damages caused at protests that took place on Thursday August 8.

Gatvol Capetonian initiated the protests last week to heighten awareness around the plight of those living in backyards.

Mr Adams will also be appearing at Bishop Lavis Magistrate’s Court tomorrow, Thursday August 15, in connection with crimen injuria and verbal assault charges which DA Ward 50 councillor Angus McKenzie has laid against him, said Sakeena Frenchman, the secretary of Gatvol Capetonian.

JP Smith, the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, said the City has laid criminal charges in relation to incitement to violence and other offences against the national spokesperson of the organisation responsible for the illegal protests and more may follow in the next few days.

Mr Smith said the protests caused damage to road surfaces in seven areas. Damage was also done to traffic and street lights.

“The total preliminary cost of these damages is likely to be in excess of R1.5 million,” Mr Smith said.

“The City will be initiating a civil claim against him (Mr Adams) to recover the more than a million rand infrastructure damages caused by the riots he incited.”

He said the protests the City was aware of include one at the Wale Street entrance to Bo-Kaap, involving a handful of people. A few tyres were set alight which SAPS removed.

Another protest was in Grassy Park, on the corner of the M5 and Hyde Road, where protesters burnt tyres and tried to interfere with passing motorists.

In Atlantis, on the corner of Darling and Silwerstroom roads, about 50 protesters burnt wood and tyres on the roadway and intimidated passing motorists.

Roads were also blocked in several areas.

In Mitchell’s Plain, tyres were burnt in AZ Berman Drive and Trampoline Road. SAPS’ Public Order Policing Unit used stun grenades to disperse a crowd blocking the corner of 18th Avenue and Voortrekker roads, in Kensington.

In Delft, on the corner of Main Road and Stellenbosch Arterial, the roadway was closed in both directions as tyres, street poles and
other materials were set alight in the road.

Two of the most violent sites of conflict were in Ocean View and Kommetjie. Traffic signals were destroyed and access was blocked until midday when SAPS and Metro police dispersed protesters and cleared the roads.

A Lentegeur resident, Trudy Bothma, said on Thursday morning the roads were blocked but the protest was peaceful.

“We had to walk to our work places and people had to use another route to get to work.”

Acting provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant General Sindile Mfazi, allegedly gave instructions for Mr Adams to be arrested over the weekend but when the Plainsman asked the police’s provincial communications office to confirm this, spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel André Traut said a suspect can only be identified once he or she has made an appearance in a court of law. However, Mr Adams said he visited the Mitchell’s Plain police station and Grand Central police station in Cape Town over the weekend to hand himself over and they had no record of him being charged or of a warrant for his arrest.

On Monday August 12, when the Plainsman spoke to Mr Adams again, he gave Mr Smith 48 hours to arrest him.

Mr Adams said it was reported to him that in Ocean View and Delft things were set alight but he said none of the Gatvol Capetonian members participated in this.

“I did not incite violence and no persons from Gatvol Capetonian participated in this. I made it clear to everybody that we will have a peaceful march, with no looting and burning,” he said.

Mr Smith said the City condemns violence targeted at already vulnerable communities, the denial of their freedom of movement and the damage done to infrastructure belonging to these communities.

“Perhaps the worst misery was felt by residents of communities where the protests took place and where schools, clinics, libraries and other amenities were affected and where service and emergency vehicles could not gain access and where residents could not get to work or take children to school due to the illegal blockading of the roads. Many were attacked in their vehicles attempting to drive past protests and were left traumatised,” said Mr Smith.

Mr Adams said the City of Cape Town needs to stop perpetuating an apartheid mentality.

“The City does not want integration, as they believe in white suburbs and coloured ghettos. There are too many of us here,” he said.

They have won a small victory, he said, and they hope to be meeting with the Minister of Human Settlements, Lindiwe Sisulu.

Mr Adams said last week’s shutdown protests would only be the beginning of a series of events to draw attention to the plight of the poor and destitute in the city and province.