Thousands rally in Cape Town against rising crime, high unemployment

CAPE TOWN- Thousands went to the streets here in the South African capital on Tuesday morning to voice their anger over rising crime and high unemployment.

Protests took place in several communities hit hard by crimes and unemployment.

The mass rally was largely peaceful, except at one location where protesters scuffled with police and prompted a police crackdown. Police officers fired teargas.

Witnesses said that rubber bullets were also used, causing injuries to several protesters. The city’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety JP Smith confirmed police use of teargas and rubber bullets at one location.

The city said the various gatherings in the city were illegal as organizers did not submit an application beforehand as required by the law.

The protests were organized by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), which represents millions of workers and is also a coalition partner with the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

The planned “shutdown” of Cape Town by protesters had a limited impact and police had the whole situation under control, said Smith.

The city has deployed a large contingent of law enforcement officers to prevent the situation from running out of control, the city’s traffic service spokesperson Maxine Bezuidenhout said.

Unemployment hovers above the 27 percent mark in South Africa. The country is also among the countries with the highest murder rate in the world, with 57 murders reported every day, according to statistics released by Police Minister BhekiCele earlier this month.

Releasing his annual report on crime statistics in Parliament on Sept. 11, Cele said 20,336 people were murdered in South Africa in the period from April 1, 2017 to April 31, 2018, up 6.9 percent from the 19,016 murders for the previous period.

Among other crimes, robbery of cash-in-transit vans also saw a sharp increase in the period surveyed, up by 86 counts, from 152 to 238, with most robberies happening on the roads and in business areas, and 40 in shops and malls.

In most instances, security guards’ weapons were taken from them. Rape has increased by 0.5 percent, or by seven more people per day, meaning that 109 people are raped every day in South Africa.

Residential burglaries have decreased by 7.5 percent, with some 625 homes burgled every day in South Africa, the minister said.

Source: Ghana News Agency