Trollip takes a stand against protest action

ON GUARD: Police keep an eye on a service delivery protest in the northern areas yesterday

Mayor Athol Trollip has indicated the city will not be forced by protesting communities to deal with issues if correct procedures have not been followed.

Trollip was speaking at a public participation meeting at the Helenvale Resource Centre last night.

“We as a city are not going to be held over a barrel by protesting communities to come immediately to deal with an issue, that is not the way it works,” he said.

Trollip said a meeting between representatives of protesting residents and city manager Johann Mettler was held on Friday, where an agreement was reached that violent protest action and the burning of tyres would stop immediately.

Picking up where they left off on Friday, residents, irate at the lack of jobs for the people of the northern areas, again barricaded the section of road between Gail Road and Windvogel.

Among the gripes that have been expressed by residents are the lack of opportunities for small, medium and macro enterprises to secure government tender projects.

Police and angry residents clashed as stones and petrol bombs were allegedly thrown at police.

In return, police fired rubber bullets and teargas to disperse the protesters.

Police spokeswoman Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said police were still on the scene at 7pm last night.

She said no arrests had been made and that no injuries or deaths were reported.

Police have, however, opened a case of public violence.

Residents had initially called for Trollip to address them.

However, he had been away at the DA provincial elective conference held in East London at the weekend.

Northern areas resident Samuel Davids said: “The mayor needs to give us a way forward on how they are best going to deal with these issues.”

Asked what would happen if the protests continued today, Trollip said: “There is a law that says if you burn tyres on roads you are damaging state infrastructure and there will be consequences.”

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