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CAPE TOWN - The African National Congress in the Western Cape on Thursday denied any of its structures were involved in the violent protests that erupted on Borcherds Quarry Road in Cape Town on Wednesday night, leading to the closure of the N2 highway.
Instead, said the party, the acts were a facade, covering up opportunistic crimes.
"These are acts of individuals who are taking advantage of problems we have had with candidate list processes to perpetuate a state of chaos that allows them to loot and rob innocent people," said ANC provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs.
This was in response to the allegation that the protests were sparked by unhappiness with the ANC’s Ward 40 councillor candidate, Bongani Ngcombolo.
Disgruntlement with its candidate lists has plagued the ANC as a whole, with the Western Cape also affected. Its most recent challenges included the defecting of former councillor Loyiso Nkohla, who has endorsed the Democratic Alliance after years of rallying grassroots support for the ANC.
It also follows Saturday’s so-called hostage situation of Nkohla’s former Ses’khona People’s Rights Movement leader, Andile Lili.
This all allegedly stemmed from the ANC’s candidates list which have added to a reported disillusionment with the party.
However, said Jacobs, there were no ANC structures protesting on and near Borcherds Quarry on Wednesday night. Jacobs went on to condemn the "disruption and damage" which included the torching of two buses.
"We rebuke this growing trend of hooligans who jump [onto the] bandwagon of protests and begin to commit crime," said Jacobs.
"We want law enforcement to deal with such individuals as such."
According to the City of Cape Town’s law enforcement teams, the protest action began at about 6.45pm on Wednesday evening, with protestors burning tyres near Airport Approach Road.
By 7.15pm, the South African Police Service’s Tactical Response and Public Order Policing units were on scene, along with the City’s law enforcement agencies and firefighters. At that point, two Golden Arrow buses had already been set alight.
Two suspects were also arrested during the protests for allegedly robbing motorists. They were caught in possession of knives and a replica firearm.
At about 11.15pm, the protest action died down and both incoming and outgoing lanes on the N2 were reopened.
The protest action reportedly spilled over or emanated from the Barcelona informal settlement, where previously, issues of sanitation and ablution facilities had been focal points for community protests.
African News Agency