Khoisan v Cops



August 25, 2016
Khoisan v Cops

Residents burnt tyres and threw rocks at police. CREDIT: Brendan Magaar

Violent clash with residents as Land Invasion Unit demolishes shacks.

Violence erupted yesterday when members of the Khoisan clashed with cops after they demolished illegal structures.

Angry Elsies River residents shut down Epping Avenue and Ninth Avenue during a tense standoff with police.

The City land invasion unit had broken down two newly erected Wendy houses in Khoisan Village yesterday morning.

Angry residents blocked the roads by setting tyres alight and throwing rocks at cops.

Police, in turn, fired rubber bullets to try and disperse the crowd.

The village chief, Hamish Bradley Arries, says the residents stood up to officers, who then allegedly started attacking him.

“There is a dire need for housing in this area,” he tells the Daily Voice.

“On Sunday, two more families asked to erect their structures and we allowed them to because people are not getting houses.

“[Yesterday] morning the City [officials] came to demolish these structures without a court order.

“This is not right. We will punish them. They saw that the people were passive but our people are not naïve.

“The sad part is they didn’t even negotiate with the people. The people lost a lot of valuables.”

Hamish admits the situation got out of control.

“We admit we have boewe here and there but as residents we also have a right to housing,” he says.

“We went to the housing office to ask for assistance for the two families but they couldn’t help us.”

By late afternoon, parts of the roads around Khoisan Village were still blocked with rubble.

Neville Thomas, regional inspector of the land invasion unit, said the structures were taken down because they were unoccupied.

“Our mandate is to remove illegal strictures that are unoccupied,” he says.

“There are 32 structures on that property and those two were not occupied.

“We have been monitoring the structures since Monday so we know there is no one living in them.

“No one was arrested”, he says.

Hamish, however, insists two families were living in the hokkies.

Police remained in the area after threats to damage the library, housing office and the civic centre were made.

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