By Bev Mortimer:
St Francis Bay has been marooned yet again but this time by about 200 Sea Vista residents who have barricaded the road with burning branches and rubber tyres.
The crowd of demonstrators has taken over a whole section of the R330, the only access road to St Francis Bay. They are protesting about lack of housing and poor service delivery.
The angry crowd is keeping the fires burning by topping up continually with rubber tyres, paraffin and branches. A fire engine sent to the scene to extinguish the fires had a rock thrown at it which smashed the front window right in the driver’s face. The driver appeared unhurt and reversed the fire engine away from the scene..
The crowds started off peacefully marching down the hill from Sea Vista to the entrance of St Francis Bay at the traffic circle at the entrance to the town from 7.30 am. No cars have been allowed in or out of St Francis and a third barricade has been set up outside of Cape St Francis . All residents have had to cancel trips out of the town today – from sports matches for kids, to doctors’ appointments to weddings.
March organisers say they are staying there all day until someone from the EC Provincial government comes to address them. They do not care how far Bisho is from St Francis Bay.
They say they gave their demands to Ben Rheeder the DA Ward Clr for St Francis Bay two weeks ago. Rheeder says he sent an email to the Mayor and the Municipal Manager attaching the residents’ demands. The mayor’s office said that mayor, Booi Koerat, never received the email.
This was after a massive crowd marched from St Francis Bay to Cape St Francis to hand their demands to Rheeder whose home is in that village.
“We have heard nothing for two weeks and we have had enough,” one of the organisers, Khanya Papa said. “We are tired of waiting. We are not moving all day unless a provincial official addresses us.”
The SAP who were monitoring the situation, including police Captain Kieviet, said a big contingent of crowd control cops was on its way to the scene. But after an hour the extra backup troops had not yet pitched.
Kieviet said the crowd control team would negotiate with the marchers and if they failed then they would use force to move the Sea Vista demonstrators from the road.
At one stage Rheeder and Chimpie Cawood tried to address the crowd but the crowd ran away from them when they spotted the fire engine arriving, running angrily towards it.
St Francis Bay has been marooned several times over the past two years when the Sand River has come down in flood and has broken up the bridge over the R330. This is the first time residents from Sea Vista have occupied the R330 preventing motorists from arriving or leaving St Francis Bay.
About 80% of the marchers were relaxed, peaceful, singing and toyi-toyi-ing. There were grandmothers, grandfathers, young girls, boys and kids among them in the crowd laughing, smiling and dancing. But there was also an unruly element, fortunately in the minority, that became aggressive and had to be brought in line often by the organisers.
Updates to follow…
Photos by Bev Mortimer and by Marcel Mortimer.
See video by Marcel Mortimer (copyright):
Read article of original march of Sea Vista residents to Cape St Francis (with photos):
Read update of the 41/2 hr march and demonstration:
See Video of this morning’s march:
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2 Comments Add yours
Is this a bad time to request an update on the proposal by Arts & Culture to build a multi-million monument/centre in Hankey?
will try to find out how that is going..