News 14.6.2018 11:18 am

Plettenberg Bay a ‘war zone’, say residents

Plettenberg housing protests have turned violent, with fires and a ‘war zone’ reported. 

Jason Whitehead, a Plettenberg Bay resident, has contacted The Citizen, describing the protests as “anarchy” and as “riots” which are “out of control”.

According to him, “access in and out of Plett is highly restricted” due to the protest action.

He also describes “fires being started all over Plett during a gale force heat wave” and “petrol bombs being thrown into residential areas”.

Whitehead does not feel that the police are doing enough, claiming that there isn’t enough police presence and that mayor Peter Lobese is “nowhere to be found”.

The Knysna-Plett Herald’s account seems to back up what Whitehead has reported.

Today they reported that residents have described housing riots in the area as a “war zone” or a “hostage situation” as reports started filtering through that more access and entrance points in the coastal holiday town would soon be blocked by protestors.

Residents entering or exiting Plett towards Knysna have been redirected via Airport Road as the N2, from the footbridge, had been blocked by rioters.

Although unconfirmed at this stage, reports have suggested that Airport Road would also be blocked today.

Several schools have been closed as a precautionary measure, and motorists have been warned to careful.

On Tuesday, EWN reported that the protests had already descended into chaos.

The seaside town of Plettenberg Bay, which comes alive during the December holidays, is a place where – like many others on the Western Cape’s picturesque “garden route”, the contrast between rich and poor is stark, and lack of housing and service delivery for the poor has come to a head in the chaotic protests this week.

The protests seem to mirror similar actions across the Western Cape in recent weeks.

Disgruntled residents living in an area called Esterhof took to the streets over a lack of housing and service delivery. A number of shops were looted and there was a heavy police presence in the community. Calm has since been restored in the area.

Demonstrations have also taken place in Vrygrond, Parkwood, the Siqalo informal settlement, Hermanus and Gansbaai.

Additional reporting by The Knysna-Plett Herald.  

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