14 August 2018

South Africa: Hout Bay Unrest - Police Suspend Search for Missing Fisherman, Protesters Loot Market

Photo: Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp
Hout Bay was quiet today as divers continued their search for the body of Deurick Van Blerk.

The search for a missing fisherman, whose disappearance over the weekend sparked violent protests in Hout Bay, was suspended on Tuesday after divers returned empty-handed.

Deurick van Blerk, 25, and two others were allegedly fishing illegally in the early hours of Saturday.

Van Blerk jumped overboard when an anti-poaching task team intercepted them, and he has not been seen since.

"Please be advised that due to operational reasons, the search will resume tomorrow," police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said.

The Hangberg community has been overrun by angry protesters who believe that the police allegedly shot and killed Van Blerk.

On Monday, News24 observed a crowd of about 100 protesters burning boats and tyres in the street before they made their way to the Hout Bay market.

The violence continued on Tuesday morning.

"The protesters looted Hout Bay market. Community members assisted the police and some of the looted stuff was recovered," Rwexana said.

"An ATM was also damaged in the area. Police arrested a total of 11 people (aged between 15 and 45) including five juveniles who were later released to their parents."

Once the people have been charged, they will appear in Muizenberg Magistrate's Court

By Tuesday afternoon, the situation had calmed down, but a heavy police presence remained in the area.

Community leader Roscoe Jacobs called on protesters to respect Van Blerk's family "in their hour of despair".

"The family's request is for calm and for the public violence to end so that the police can search and find Deurick. So let us respect and support their wishes," he said.

News24 previously reported that Van Blerk's father Edward was seen berating protesters who apparently engaged in illegal activity at the Hout Bay market on Monday.

Source: News24

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