Taxi strike: Women march to demand end to violence and looting

Philippi marchers call for City of Cape Town to use its CCTV cameras to bring the perpetrators of crimes committed this week to book

By Sandiso Phaliso

10 August 2023

Dozens of women marched in the streets of Philippi on Thursday, calling for an end to the violence, looting and destruction of public facilities. Photo: Sandiso Phaliso

Women, mostly dressed in black, made their voices heard in the streets of Philippi on Thursday as they went door-to-door, calling for calm in the township crippled by days of destructive protests and looting.

Women we spoke to said the ongoing taxi shutdown and subsequent incidents of looting and vehicle stoning in the area this week have hit poor households and the surrounding businesses very hard. Many shops in Philippi are either out of stock or have hiked prices of essential items like bread, milk, eggs and paraffin.

On Thursday people participating in the march said that they were tired of seeing infrastructure and government property, which benefits them, being destroyed.

One of the marchers, Nosicelo Mphambuki, said: “As women we felt so powerless. In such cases, women and children are told to stay at home while men go out to solve the problems, but now we decided to stand up and tell the community to stop.”

Another marcher, Nomasomi Mfuzi, said: “We want everybody to know that enough is enough! We cannot tolerate this and cannot stand it anymore.”

“It’s sad and scary because we know the culprit but no one is saying anything. We don’t want mothers and women to hide these culprits even if it’s our own children. Take a stand and say no to goods in your house that have not been paid for,” said Mfuzi.

Community leader Okwethu Nkqayi said women could not celebrate Women’s Day on Wednesday because Philippi tensions remained high. “It is up to each of us to say to our children: ‘You cannot come here with those valuables because they are stolen.’ Why is that so difficult?” asked Nkqatiyi.

The marchers called for the City of Cape Town to use its CCTV cameras to bring the perpetrators of crimes committed this week to book.

Ward councillor Melikhaya Gadeni said the damage to the Browns Farm library, Browns Farm swimming pool, the community hall and his office could cost millions of rands to fix.

“The impact on the community will be huge as we approach summer. Children won’t have a swimming pool … The closure of the library, its third for the year, may become permanent … and will rob the community of important resources,” he said.

Gadeni said plans to turn the now badly vandalised community hall into an activity hub “has been negatively impacted”.