Cape Town shutdown: Multiple protests erupt, roads closed to traffic

Cape Town awoke to widespread protest on Monday morning, with major highways impacted by demonstrations orchestrated, primarily, by the Cape Coloured People's Congress; better known as the 'Gatvol Capetonian' movement.


Reports of planned protest action were delivered to both the media and City of Cape Town officials on Sunday night. Fadiel Adams, leader of the Gatvol movement, elaborated on a list of demands which dealt with the destructive legacy of apartheid's spatial planning — which has resulted in a dire housing crisis on the Cape Flats — and the City's heavy-handed eviction programmes which have been defended and overseen by JP Smith, the Mayco member for Safety and Security.


Chief among Adams' demands was for Smith to be sacked with immediate effect.


Smith, who has had his hands full dealing with a recent swell of unrest in Khayelitsha and Kraaifontein, said that law enforcement agencies would continue to quell any dissidence which sought to undermine the rule of law or disrupt the lives of residents. Smith confirmed the proposed protest action orchestrated by Adams and noted that a heavy police presence would be visible throughout Cape Town.

Cape Town shutdown: Gatvol protesters take to the streets


On Sunday night, Adams released a video which accompanied the organisation's official memorandum concerning the state of the Cape Flats and the subsequent shutdown as a form of protest against marginalisation. Flanked by community leaders, who have been tasked with managing the disruptions in various parts of the city, Adams said:


"Monday 27 [July], we will be shutting down the Cape metro and other areas. We will be shutting down because of the lack of opportunities for coloured people.
We'll be shutting down because you are victimising our teachers. We'll be shutting down because of the RDP housing you're building. We'll be shutting down because you throw down a structure in Hout Bay and call it an 'illegal structure', but then you put up illegal ones in Manneberg.
We'll be shutting down because the ANC doesn't have the political will to combat gangsterism and drugs."


The protest action planned for Monday morning follows a period of severe unrest emanating from the battle for land and housing. In Khayelitsha, protesters torched vehicles and public infrastructure following an anti-land invasion swoop carried out by the City of Cape Town.


In Kraaifontein, trucks and businesses were looted by rioters operating under the guise of service delivery protests.


Similar violent protests were reported in Dunoon and Joe Slovo, where sections of Sinenjongo High School were gutted by flames.

Protest action and traffic disruptions on Monday 27 July


On Monday morning, the City of Cape Town confirmed that sporadic protest action had erupted across the metro and as far out as Atlantis. The following disruptions were recorded at the time of publication:

  1. Protesting on Old Mamre and Darling Rd in Atlantis. Old Mamre and Darling Rd closed between Dassenberg Rd and Silverstroom Atlantis. Use alternative route.

  2. Protesting on Peter Barlow Rd in Bellville South, Peter Barlow Rd closed between Robert Sobukwe Rd and Kasselsvlei. Use alternative route.[*]Protesting at the intersection of Tokai Rd and White Rd in Steenberg. Use alternative route.[*]Protesting on Maroela and Old Paarl Cr in Kraaifontein, no traffic into Wallacedene. Use alternative route.[*]Protesting on the R102 and Plain St in Eerste River, R102 closed at Butts Kop in both directions. Use alternative route.[*]Protesting on the R300 at Stellenbosch Arterial, south bound closure at Van Riebeeck Rd. Use alternative route.[*]Protesting on Duinefontein Rd in Heideveld, northbound between Ascension Rd and the N2. Use alternative route.

In addition to disruptions on Cape Town's highways and byways, MetroRail services — which were only recently reopened under Advanced Level 3 lockdown regulations — have been suspended "due to possible risk to commuters, staff and essential infrastructure".


This is a developing story — more details to follow.