Hermanus protests: More than 100 Somali spaza shops torched

2018-03-27 17:47

About 120 Somali-owned small businesses have been torched in Zwelihle, Hermanus, in violence associated with community protests, a group of Somali shop owners said on Tuesday.

"I ran with my children and my wife," said one man who did not want to be named or photographed.

"They burnt my shop, my house, and they turned my car over in the street."

READ: Hermanus protests: 'Amaparapara behind violence, vandalism'

At least 88 people sought shelter at the Ismail and Miriam Ebrahim Islamic Centre in the main road of the whale-watching and tourist town along the Western Cape coast. Others retreated to the community hall outside town while those who could lodge with relatives in Cape Town left for safety.

"There were a lot of burnt shops, all in the name of land," said the centre's Sheikh Aslam Tambara.

"We had no choice," said Tambara, explaining why they took the panicked families and individuals in and gave them a meal and a place to sleep.

Houses, library vandalised

"This is God's place. This is no-man's land," said Tambara.

Zwelihle community members (Zukile Daniel, News24)


Explaining the reason for the protests, community leader and Ward 5 ANC councillor Masibulele Jimlongo, said the ongoing protests were over allegations that people on waiting lists for newly built houses were being pushed out of the process by people buying their way into the houses through corruption.

He said prior to embarking on protest action, the community members had agreed to not damage schools and the local library. However, the library was trashed on Monday by what he called "amaparapara" – drug addicts – who had used the protest as an opportunity to commit crime.

It was not clear however whether community members or criminal elements were responsible for the vandalism of the new houses where windows were shattered, doors were left broken and living rooms torched.

Jimlongo said there were swathes of land next to Zwelihle that protesters expected to be set aside for development for residents already living in cramped conditions with overflowing and blocked communal toilets.

He said it is understood that this land had been sold to private developers.

The municipality could not be reached for comment.

Read more on:    hermanus  |  cape town  |  protests

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.