Bheki Cele Hermanus Protests

(@ChristinaPitt94 / Twitter)

Hermanus protests: Solutions in sight for troubled communities

The situation remains tense, but Bheki Cele has been able to make some inroads this week.

Bheki Cele Hermanus Protests

(@ChristinaPitt94 / Twitter)

After weeks of renewed violent demonstrations, the Hermanus protests look set to ease off following intervention from Police Chief Bheki Cele.

He has been visiting the area over the past week, attempting to find amicable resolutions for protesters and the residents who are scared to leave their houses. EWN report that Cele has been able to work with the townspeople, rather than against them.

The upheaval has seen a police officer hospitalised following an axe attack and firearms were stolen from the police. Even more tragically, a newborn baby lost her life from inhaling tear gas during the height of the troubles.

After engaging in dialogue with the local community and proposing ways forward, the Zwelihle township where most of the riots took place now has a semblance of calm returning to it.

What happens next for Hermanus, Zwelihle?

There is now a stronger police presence in the coastal region. More SAPS officers have been deployed to the streets, helping to restore order in the settlements.

Cele has also vowed to investigate claims of police brutality against members of the community. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) have been assigned to look into these complaints.

What has caused the Hermanus protests?

The chief also acknowledged the citizens’ need for land and affordable housing, promising to contact the relevant departments so the process can be accelerated. Protests flared up earlier in the year following illegal land grabs in Hermanus.

However, the Zwelihle Renewal Group – the driving force behind these recent demonstrations – still want to see certain community leaders released from custody. This is something Cele cannot change, though. The process of the courts must be respected.

Many of the recent riots were sparked by the leaders’ arrests following smaller-scale protests. However, not even the chief of police can intervene on this one.