While the City of Cape Town puts the cost of recent city-wide protests at about R1.5 million, Ocean View is counting the cost to its children.
The planned Gatvol Capetonian Movement protest was held on Thursday morning August 8, but the night before, Ocean View children from the age of 10, set fires and stoned cars, media and policemen, according to Ocean View Community Police Forum chairperson Kathy Cronje.
Schools in the area were closed on Thursday because of the violent element in the protests.
Ms Cronje said: “I have no idea who is involved and who was directing these kids, but they closed off all access roads to Ocean View and Kommetjie. They stoned policemen, cars, they had four fires lit in Milky Way Road alone.”
Any child caught committing crimes could be arrested, Ms Cronje said. “It is critical that parents understand this.”
The violence on Wednesday night was followed on Thursday by the Gatvol Capetonian Movement protest over the plight of backyard dwellers.
Ocean View resident Carminta Davis said she supported the protest asking for homes but not the children’s violent actions.
“I know what it’s like to live without water and access to a toilet inside; I have a proper house now but I have never forgotten what its like to live like that,” she said.
Ms Davis said the children’s actions had shocked her, especially because the events had led to an SANDF helicopter deploying reinforcements in the area.
Ms Davis said that on Thursday morning when she had read to the crowd that their memorandum had been accepted, a child had lobbed a stone from the back of the crowd, hitting a policeman on his head.
The children had then run to the police station, threatening to burn it to the ground, she said.
Police on duty at the protest had had to drive back to the station and head the children off.
“I have no idea what their agenda is or was. I have heard they call themselves The Picket Fencers. I am asking all the NGOs and community leaders to meet with the CPF so we can put our heads together to solve this. No one organisation on its own is going to solve this; the severity requires us to work together,” she said.
Ocean View’s ills had worsened in recent years, she said.
Meanwhile the City estimates protesters caused in excess of R1.5 million damage across the city, including road surfaces scorched by burning barricades.
According to mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith, Ocean View and Kommetjie Road saw the worst of the protests, with access roads closed until noon before police were able to disperse the protesters and clear the roads.
Mayoral committee member for transport Felicity Purchase said two sets traffic signals – one along Prince George Drive, the other on the corner of Kommetjie Road and Milky Way had been vandalised during the protests. The signals, alone, would cost R120 000 to repair.
“This does not include the cost of the delays to commuters who were travelling along these roads; neither does it include the cost to clean the roads and the resurfacing of the damaged road surface where needed,” she said.
Mr Smith said the City had laid criminal charges for incitement to violence against the national spokesman of the Gatvol Capetonian Movement, Fadiel Adams.
Mr Adams is, however, undeterred and has promised more action to highlight the plight of backyard dwellers in the city. He called the protests a success.
Human Settlements MEC Tertuis Simmers said residents should address their concerns through their ward councillors and register on the housing database.