Riots resurge

One of the cars that was torched during the protests.

Marina da Gama remains on edge as violence continues to rock neighbouring Vrygrond and surrounds.

On Tuesday night businesses in the area were targeted by rioters. The Nautilis Centre was the focus for much of the night, with reports that the liquor store was looted. And the Upper Crust restaurant, owned by community stalwart Elaine Meyer, was petrol bombed while she and staff were there. The till was stolen along with stock.

SAPS kept a presence at the Uitsig/Vrygrond intersection and also attended to the scene at the Nautilis Centre.

Shops at Capricorn Centre closed at 5pm so staff could leave early ahead of the planned protest action.

On Monday, April 30, rioters attacked Marina da Gama residents as they arrived home and people passing by; stoning and petrol bombing cars and flats at the Vrygrond/Uitsig intersection. (“Casualties of violence”, Echo, May 3).

This was an escalation from two prior unrest events where tyres were burned, a car was set alight and protesters threw rocks at passersby.

On Sunday, May 13, Vrygrond ward councillor Gerry Gordon’s car was torched when she visited the community.

Later the same day, rioters set fire to the Capricorn Business Park and the City’s Coastal Park landfill site which is adjacent to Vrygrond.

On Monday night May 14, the offices of New World Foundation, a community upliftment non-government organisation, were petrol bombed and two foundation bakkies were torched.

Aimee Kuhl, the councillor for Ward 64, which includes Marina da Gama, condemned the violence.

“I understand and am concerned about the unrest spilling over into my ward. The mayor, in conjunction with Gerry Gordon, the councillor for Vrygrond, has engaged with the community. I was not present at this meeting but details of it were sent to me and were included in the Marina newsletter,” she said.

After the attack on the Capricorn Business Park on Sunday May 13, Ms Kuhl wrote on Facebook: “Senseless vandalism and violence cannot be justified. Small businesses in Capricorn park are the main employer for the surrounding communities. This includes Vrygrond. We had discussions with business owners whose offices have been destroyed and workers traumatised this morning. They are considering pulling out of the area. Which means people will lose their jobs.”

The City’s JP Smith said the unrest was related to an illegal land occupation in the area.

Just after 10am on Sunday, May 13, various City departments had removed 62 illegal structures.

Mr Smith said a crowd of about 100 people had attacked City enforcement staff, pelting them with stones and half bricks. The officers had responded with rubber rounds.

“There is absolutely no justification for these acts of violence and destruction,” Mr Smith said.

He called on anyone with information about those responsible for the malicious damage to property to report it to the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre by dialling 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone.

The Guardians, a group of community patrollers in Marina da Gama, were on watch throughout the latest incidents, informing residents through their WhatsApp group and on social media.

Captain Stephen Knapp, of Muizenberg police, said: “Muizenberg SAPS would like to warn the perpetrators of these crimes that no stone will be left unturned in the pursuit of bringing these criminals to justice and would further like to appeal to the community to provide information regarding the perpetrators of these crimes.”