Housing project site petrol-bombed

Michael Pietersen, councillor for Ward 116, points out the damage a petrol bomb caused to a digger at the Beacon Valley Housing Project site, on Swartklip Road.

Heavy-duty machinery was destroyed when a petrol bomb exploded at a Beacon Valley housing project site.

The petrol bomb was thrown just after midnight on Friday July 31 at the Swartklip Road construction site – one of three sites that make up the Beacon Valley Housing Project.

Ward councillor Michael Pietersen said he was deeply disturbed by the “cowardice attack” on the site, where bulk infrastructure was being installed.

The R95 million Beacon Valley Housing Project in Mitchell’s Plain is expected to provide 1 809 breaking new ground (BNG) housing opportunities to qualifying Mitchell’s Plain beneficiaries.

Mr Pietersen said the “thugs and criminals” had threatened the security guards at the Swartklip Road site with a gun.

“No one was injured, the neighbour next to the site, a police captain, came to the rescue and alerted the police and fire service,” he said.

Several hours after the attack on the digger, there was a protest by about 100 people at the project’s Highlands Drive site in Montrose Park, about 1km away from the Swartklip Road site.

Mr Pietersen was assessing the damage at the Swartklip site when he got the call, at about 9am, about the protest at Highland Drive and he then went over there to meet with the protesters.

The housing project’s steering committee (PSC) member Duwayne Jacobs was also there and, according to him, he was trying to get the protesters to meet with the contractors.

The site was closed for the rest of the day after the contractor, law enforcement and community liaison officers agreed that the situation was “very volatile”.

Mr Pietersen accused the protesters of trying to derail the project.

“We cannot allow this type of behaviour by certain groups who have their political and other agendas to derail these very important projects,” he said.

“Mitchell’s Plain needs the housing opportunities. There are people on the housing database for many years.”

Mayoral committee member for human settlements Malusi Booi accused the protesters of trying to “invade the project”. Such action, he said, “affects the legitimate beneficiaries who are among the most vulnerable in Cape Town”.

Mr Jacobs said he had tried to assist the Ward 116 development forums’ representatives – including Montrose Park Farm Development Forum, Mandalay Montclair Business Forum and Mandalay
Montclair Development Forum – to find work opportunities on the site as they felt they had been excluded.

“As a member of the PSC I am responsible for reporting back to the community and ensuring they are part of this process,” he said.

He said as elected members they had been working on the project for the last nine years and had been privy to the type of houses to be built and what the streets names would be.

“We had also been tasked with locating people who have been on the housing waiting list for longer than 20 years, had chronic illnesses or were disabled to be preferenced as beneficiaries,” he said.

The representatives of the development forums, he said, had handed over a memorandum to Mr Pietersen calling for a community leadership empowerment plan and a meeting with the contractor and consultant since the PSC had failed to organise such a meeting.

The memorandum had also listed their demands for employment and training opportunities, among other things.

Mitchell’s Plain police station spokesman Captain Ian Williams said they were investigating a case of intimidation, where a man was threatened by three men at a construction site.

“Nothing is mentioned about a petrol bomb,” he said