South Africa: Community Leaders, Police Meet in Hermanus

Police and community leaders in Hermanus have gone into a special meeting after violence broke out in the area.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Donovan Heliron earlier told News24 that officials were rushing to the meeting.

"We are transporting community leaders in an effort to foster talks with them at this meeting. We will have an update on the situation following this."

By evening, the Hermanus Community Policing Forum (CPF) had thanked the community for assisting displaced community members, who will spend the night in the Sandbaai Hall.

Earlier in the day, Heliron said a group of protesters torched a car at the Beach Club.

"The people managed to get there, but we managed to mobilise our teams and stop anyone [from] being physically harmed."

Heliron added that reports that the group had tried to attack the Whale Coast Mall were untrue.

"They did not make it anywhere near there. When people at the mall heard about the activity in Zwelihle, many closed up shop and left."

Marthunis Barnard, the owner of a local tourism website whose offices are next to Zwelihle, said it was a tumultuous day for the area.

"The situation got out of control today. They shot teargas and rubber bullets to disperse people."

At least 25 people were arrested in the town after scores of people marked out plots on vacant land.

Police reinforcements' dressed in riot gear and carrying shotguns' were deployed after an attempted land invasion over the weekend.

The Zwelihle satellite police station was also partially burnt as authorities and protesters engaged in running battles.


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