Since March 2018 the Overstrand has been engulfed by waves of unlawful conduct and/or protest action. The protests, as well as the action of protesters, the Municipality and the Police, have been the subject of heated debate.
The situation regarding the current Zwelihle unrest and possible causes thereof are as follows:
Schulphoek Road Fence
The Schulphoek Road fence was removed by the Zwelihle Renewal and members of the community late on Saturday late afternoon, 7 July. A charge of malicious damage to property was laid and a number of arrests were made on Wednesday, 11 July.
The Ward Committee of Ward 12 in Zwelihle were in favour of the fence for the following reasons:
- To stop illegal dumping of rubbish, specifically building rubble, on the open area;
- To prevent incidents of assault and molestation of the residents of Zwelihle and the community of the surrounding area;
- To ensure the safety of the children from the traffic on Schulphoek Road;
- To create a green belt for recreation and leisure for the Zwelihle community, especially the children.
Funding for the fence, which stretches from Mbeki Street to the last entrance into Zwelihle at Zwelihle Primary in Sisulu Street, was approved by Council during the mid-term budget review in February 2018. The cost of the fence was R387 197,29 (excl VAT). The fence is currently in storage and there might be some panels that can still be used, but the poles are bent and the fence is no longer under guarantee.
On Monday night, 9 July 2018, Overstrand Fire Brigade received a call that the Zwelihle Library had been set on fire. The cause of or motive for the fire has not yet been determined.
The Zwelihle Library was an abandoned building which was previously vandalised inside and had no electricity. It was partially barricaded off in anticipation of insurance pay-out so that the building could be restored.
Fire fighting crews did not experience any aggression from the public on arrival and most of the community members looked on in disbelief.
The library has been completely gutted and the site offices of the building contractor at the Qhayiya Secondary School sustained heat damage; fortunately, no physical damage was found inside.
On Tuesday, 10 July, community members of Zwelihle held a meeting at the soccer field and decided to march to the Police Station to hand over a petition, demanding that all charges against one of the members of Zwelihle Renewal be dropped. Colonel Nosilela met the crowd in Zwelihle and received the Memorandum.
Most roads in and around Zwelihle have since been closed and all law enforcement agencies are still on high alert (Wednesday, 11 July).
It was confirmed at 15:00 that there is still a crowd gathered in Zwelihle who are being monitored by POPS. The situation is contained to Zwelihle and is under the control of SAPS.
Sending out SMS messages is not viable as the situation changes frequently. Not everyone is connected to the internet and can follow updates. Such a service will, therefore, be investigated.