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Cape Town – Protesting Siqalo residents threw petrol bombs and stones at passing motorists, upset about having their illegal electrical connections cut off. This has enraged neighbouring residents from Mitchells Plain.
Siqalo councillor Elton-Enrique Jansen has called for calm between the two neighbouring communities, saying chatter about possible violent conflict was not necessary, and that the matter could be handled amicably.
Jansen said: “I have spoken with residents from both sides, and noted their concerns. We can’t have a situation like this, where people could get hurt, especially innocent women and children.
“Siqalo residents are protesting about not having electricity. While they should do so peacefully and not resort to putting other residents at risk, they should realise that there is no way the City can give them what they want.
“The land the community is on does not belong to the City, its private land, and besides that, the area is also not conducive for the plans the community seems to have, not unless that land is rehabilitated.”
Jansen said despite not being able to give Siqalo residents electricity, the City was working in partnership with the provincial government to figure out a plan for Siqalo.
“What I can say is that the provincial government, supported by the City, is currently working on a plan for Siqalo. Unfortunately, they only recently began working on this plan, so there is no timeline for when we can share it with Siqalo residents,” he said.
However, Siqalo residents have vowed to continue staging their protest until the government supplies them with electricity. Picking up where they left off on Tuesday evening, they again took to the streets on Wednesday.
A resident, who did not want to be named, said they had been waiting patiently for the promises made by the government a few years ago, but that had not materialised.
“We have had enough of the lies and we will continue to protest until we get electricity. We are not asking for much, just basic services, not for free, we will pay and buy units like everyone else.
“People cannot be expected to live on illegal connections, but they are left with no choice. Unfortunately, this causes tensions with Mitchells Plain residents who don’t want us here,” the resident said.
Meanwhile, a video reaction of the protest posted online by Cape Coloured Congress leader Fadiel Adams is seemingly fuelling tensions between residents from Mitchells Plain and Siqalo.
In the video, Adams said that Siqalo residents should go back home and stop provoking Mitchells Plain residents.
Speaking to the Cape Argus, Adams said he stands by what he said in the video, but that he was not trying to incite the two communities.