Plettenberg Bay protests: 59 arrested, N2 still closed after volatile 24 hours

2019-07-04 20:26
Road blocked due to protest action in Plettenberg Bay. (Supplied)

Road blocked due to protest action in Plettenberg Bay. (Supplied)

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Plettenberg Bay police have confirmed to News24 that 59 people were arrested for alleged criminal acts linked to service delivery protests which have rocked the small Western Cape coastal town.

Citing Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa, News24 reported that the N2 in Plettenberg Bay was closed on Thursday morning following a night of violent protests. 

Giving an update on the situation, regional police spokesperson Sergeant Chris Spies confirmed the roads were still closed.

''A total of 59 suspects were arrested for various charges by the police in the Southern Cape since Tuesday, 02 July 2019, when the police responded to protests on the N2 highway near the turn-off to Piesang Valley drive in Plettenberg Bay.''

''The police arrested 31 suspects in and around the Industrial area today. This includes 23 suspects that were arrested on a business premises following a burglary earlier. These suspects are facing charges of housebreaking, but more charges could be added as the investigation unfolds.'' 

''The others suspects that were also arrested today are facing charges of public violence after they were positively linked to the continued unrest in the area.''

"The roads are still closed and Public Order Police members are still on the scene monitoring the situation," said Spies adding that "They will remain on the ground until law and order is restored."

Two people were expected to appear in court on Friday on charges of public violence, with the rest, aged between 13 and 57, set to appear from Monday onwards, said Spies. 

Spies added that all of the suspects are still in custody.    

News24 reported earlier that the Bitou Municipality had said in a notice that the police would facilitate a meeting in council chambers between political office bearers, Mayor Peter Lobese, the executive management team and seven protest leaders from Qolweni and New Horizons on Wednesday afternoon.

It is understood that an agreement was not reached, and reports were later received of vandalism and looting in the industrial area.

The latest protests stem from grievances that were raised in June.

The municipality, in a Facebook post dated July 4, 2019, has condemned the actions of protesters saying: "Bitou wants to put on record that we no longer view what has transpired these past two days, particularly the criminal activities of last night and the early hours today, as a protest for service delivery.

"The overwhelming public evidence is that this is rampant crime, accompanied by violence, looting, theft as well as vandalism and the malicious damage of public and private property with a total disregard of the losses and major inconvenience to business owners, their employees and families."

Read more on:    plettenberg bay  |  service delivery protests
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