Grabouw Protest Block N2

Nadine Ford-Kritzinger

The N2 highway was closed for hours yesterday after protesters in Grabouw barricaded roads due to their service delivery and education demands not being met.

The N2 highway between Houwhoek and Sir Lowry’s Pass was closed after protesters stoned cars and burned tyres, starting on Sunday night. The Slangpark informal settlement borders the N2 highway and people from this community and the nearby Chotzoben informal settlement, on the Old Cape Road, joined in the protests.

Police spokesperson Capt FC Van Wyk yesterday said: “A group of people were protesting on the N2 highway at Grabouw on Monday (yesterday) morning and there were reports of cars being stoned.

“Police were forced to use tear gas grenades to disperse the crowds who were stoning them and motorists.

“Two classrooms at Groenberg High School were set alight, one of which burnt down completely. Four people have been admitted to Helderberg Hospital with head wounds.

“Fourteen men between the ages of 22 and 44 have been arrested on charges of public violence,” he added.

Van Wyk said: “The situation is very tense and the cause of the unrest has not been established, but more police have been deployed to patrol the area.”

Meanwhile, Communities for Social Change which comprises Proudly Manenberg, Proudly Mitchell’s Plain, Proudly Cloetesville, Proudly Elsies River, Philippi Qabuka, Athlone Advice Office, Strandfontein Campdrive community organisation, Grabouw Elgin Civic organisation and Valhalla met and decided to support the people of Grabouw and to march from Grabouw to Cape Town to the provincial government yesterday morning, but were stopped by police.

CSC organiser Mario Wanza yesterday said: “The SA Democratic Teachers Union, Grabouw Elgin Civic Organisation and a task team representing the parents of the pupils and the student representative council have come together to take this struggle forward. The people of Grabouw have been engaging in a struggle for the doors of learning and culture to be opened.”

However, the Western Cape minister of education, Donald Grant, yesterday made it known that this was a case of political motives and agendas.

The MEC said: “I condemn in the strongest possible terms this morning’s violence and disorder in the demonstration in Grabouw organised by the Elgin Grabouw Civic Organisation.

“This government has committed to have a new school up and running, in an unprecedented amount of time, by the 10th of April,” he said.

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