Nervy councillors fear repeat attacks

THE Nelson Mandela Bay councillors who were forced to flee from their homes after they were attacked by Uitenhage residents during last year's violent housing protests have returned home. But, with violence flaring up again last week, the councillors fear a repeat of last year's events. The councillors fled as the community turned on them, burning down their homes and offices and assaulting them. Ward 49 DA councillor Franay van de Linde's office and ANC councillor Sienna Baartman's house and car were torched. "There are concerns, but we are cautious. The security is still at our houses," Van de Linde said. "There are rumours going around so we cannot be at ease. All of these protests are happening around us so we can't say we won't be affected again," she said. Human settlements portfolio committee boss Buyisile Mkavu, and Ward 50 ANC councillor Zolani Ncwadi were both assaulted by the angry protesters. ACDP councillor Marlon Booyen who, was also attacked, and Baartman could not be reached for comment. After Ncwadi was discharged from hospital after he was beaten with a pickaxe handle, he went straight home. "When you end up in hospital, then a similar thing that landed you there seems to be happening again, you can't help but fear for the worst. "We never expected them to attack us in the first place so we have to be cautious now, but noone has come to me as a ward councillor with any query." Mkavu said the protests were never human settlements related and suspected foul play. "We have been meeting with the community and informing them on what can and will be done because we have to service land before building houses. You cannot build a house in one day. "On February 4 we will have another meeting with them to show how far we have come since our last meeting, so we are keeping them informed. "You can go to Lapland and you will see we are building houses there and it is not only in Uitenhage but in the metro as a whole. That is why I say there is foul play here. The protests are being caused by people who want to tarnish the ANC and the ANC-run municipality's reputation. "What I won't do is to go out there and lie to people so that they stop whatever they might be doing."