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Protesters digging massive trenches across Cape Town roads

Cape Town’s MMC for Safety and Security, JP Smith, has issued a warning for motorists regarding a new tactic being used by protestors in parts of the city.

Following a series of protests relating to a new housing development on Baden Powell Drive and reported extortion attempts, police were dispatched to the scene only to find that a trench had been dug across the entire width of the road, creating a dangerous obstacle for all road users.

A new and dangerous protest tactic

In the early hours of Saturday morning, the Metro Police Tactical Response Unit was sent to Baden Powell Drive along the coast following reports of violent protests in the area.

Upon their arrival, the team discovered that a 1.5m-deep trench had been dug across the entire road, which had already caused an accident as a civilian motorist had driven into it, said Smith.

Smith claimed that the only way that such a large trench could be dug so quickly was with the use of power tools and heavy construction machinery.

City staff from the Roads and Stormwater department were then called to the scene where they quickly filled the trench to restore the road to working order.

While the team was busy mending the road, metro officers were kept at the scene to guard the crew as there have been numerous cases in recent months of construction crews being harassed and threatened by criminal extortion groups.

Police officers who were patrolling the rest of Baden Powell Drive encountered a vehicle that had stopped at the side of the road where an apparent hijacking-in-progress was taking place.

According to Smith, the assailant fled the scene by escaping into the surrounding terrain, but dropped his possessions in the process, including a firearm.

The fact that a hijacking took place so close to the scene of the sabotaged road illustrates how dangerous the situation can be for any motorist whose car may be trapped or damaged by the hazard, so it is very important that road users keep an eye out for this new tactic.

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