KNYSNA NEWS - As is often the case, protests by certain factions of the community coincided with the ensuing violent protests against the postponement of murder accused Velile Waxa's case, which exacerbated an already fragile state of affairs.
To outside observers, the protests all seemed confusingly like one large riot with people riling against a single issue, but this was not the case.
While the Molosi protesters amassed at the Knysna police station at around 19:30 on 28 March, another protest against service delivery ensued at Lamco in Hornlee which saw the N2 being closed and traffic through Knysna cut off.
On two consecutive nights starting on Wednesday 27 March last week, Hornlee residents took their grievances to the streets in efforts to voice their grievances. Members of the community said their needs are not being prioritised and that they feel like outcasts when it comes to service delivery. They also protested against the proposed water meters in the area and demanded that empty lots and available land be given to backyard dwellers.
On Thursday, the N2 was completely closed and there was no movement through Knysna until just short of midnight. Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa said the public order police had their hands full as the people poured petrol over burning tyres on the N2 and that an SAB beer was looted and its air pipes cut off. He indicated that the situation became hostile.
Oupad joins in
On Friday 29 March the N2 was closed off again as a result of another protest by residents from Oupad, though it was unclear what their grievances were, if any. A chicken delivery truck was looted and the group pelted cars with stones, and there were also unconfirmed reports on social media of threats being made and items stolen from vehicles stuck in traffic on the N2 nearby. No arrests were made.
Knysna police spokesperson Sergeant Chris Spies said two suspects were arrested for public violence on Thursday, but released on Friday morning. He added, "The Knysna SAPS recognises the right to protest peacefully. We therefore appeal to those participating in protest action to act within ambit of the law without infringing the rights of others."
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