The violent marches in the Bloekombos area in Kraaifontein almost claimed the lives of a subcontractor and six of his workers on Thursday night.
Michael du Plessis (21) and his foreman went to drop off his workers at the house when a crowd of angry protesters suddenly surrounded them.
Du Plessis’ bakkie was pelted with stones from all directions. A piece of concrete thrown by a protester through the passenger side window hit him in the face.
“We could have been dead. If we had not managed to get away, the protesters would probably have burned us out just there. “
Outraged residents of the area began protesting on Thursday when an operation, which was ratified by a court order, began to demolish illegal structures in the area.
Nine people in the area were arrested Thursday. On Friday, when the violence flared up again, school children pelted police with stones, glass bottles and other objects.
Du Plessis says his foreman, Pierre, was driving the bakkie when they went to unload the workers. They drove into the back of Bloekombos from Stellenbosch. A traffic officer who was on the side of the road did not warn them that something was going on.
It was around 18:15 and Du Plessis suddenly realized that there were more people in the area than usual. When they drove a little further, they realized that they had ended up inside a protest.
“I saw one of the protesters, a boy of about 17 years old, pick up a large stone. He tossed it to the driver’s side and it hit the door where Pierre was sitting. It rained rocks the next moment and pieces of glass flew as the windows were thrown out.
“We were trapped. We could not turn left or right, so the only mercy out of the mess was to make a U-turn and drive through the protest to safety. I yelled at Pierre to just drive to safety.
“The next moment a concrete block was thrown through my side of the window and it hit me in the face. The blood flowed and I could not feel my face. The concrete block just missed my temple. ”
Du Plessis says he did not know the severity of his injuries. He noted that some of his workers were also injured.
He instructed Pierre to drive to the Cape Gate Mediclinic, where his girlfriend’s mother is a nurse so that everyone could receive medical help.
The incident left a bitter taste in his mouth, he says, adding that he was also just trying to make a living.
His business has only been in existence for a month and the first installment of the bakkie he bought to be able to do his job was paid barely a few days in advance. The bakkie was badly damaged.
Du Plessis is upset that the residents attacked them while he was creating jobs for people living in the area. He also wonders why a taxi full of people who also drove into the area was not attacked but his bakkie was targeted.
“What people do not understand is that such incidents are terror and an attempted murder. When will all this violence end? ”
It has previously been reported that illegal land grabs and intruders in various places over the past 15 months have cost the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements, according to a statement by Tertius Simmers, MEC for Human Settlements, about R187 million.
In addition, this department alone has spent R18 million in the past month alone to try and prevent the illegal occupation of residential units and vacant land destined for human settlement.