N2 demonstrators attack drivers during housing protest
A South African woman carrying a baby her back walks down a road strewn with rocks and rubber bullets following a housing protest in Nomzamo outside Somerset West, South Africa 11 April 2019. [Photo: EPA/NIC BOTHMA via IC]
Drivers on the N2 in Cape Town are fearing for the lives due to attacks by protestors on the freeway, now referred to as "Hell Run N2" by Helderberg Crime Watch.
The N2 is a national road in South Africa that runs from Cape Town through Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban to Ermelo. Economically, the N2 is extremely important since large amount of people travel in and out of Cape Town daily via this route for work.
However recently, the protesters' attacks on vehicles have escalated at an alarming rate which has left motorists reluctant to use the road. Vehicles have been stoned, petrol bombs have been thrown at cars and drivers have been robbed and sometimes injured.
A suggested medium-term solution was the creation of community safety forums (CSFs) consisting of government officials, community safety organisations, and members of neighbourhood watches in order to prevent criminal activities.
According to the police, the N2 road must be closed every third weekend due to protesting.
The protesters, who rent from landlords and face problems of overcrowding, accuse the government of not giving them access to adequate housing opportunities. They declared that the attacks on Cape Town's N2 would not stop until they get land. According to backyard dweller Viziyolo Madolo, the protests were not aimed at demolishing other people's property but to force the local government to react to their demands.
This is not the first time that the residents used protests and attacks on drivers. In September 2017, the N2 road was forced to close down temporarily due to protests by Lwandle residents. The protesters stopped traffic and threw stones at passing vehicles to get attention from local officials. They were demanding that the City of Cape Town provide electricity installation.
These residents finally received electricity installation in 2018.
In spite of low-income housing projects that exist in the Western Cape province, residents wait for many years on long waiting lists. Residents question the development of business parks and unaffordable residential buildings near the N2, while they wait for proper housing.