ALERT: Police are still monitoring the situation in Hermanus. Picture: Sisonke Mlamla/Cape Argus.
Cape Town - The situation in Zwelihle in Hermanus remains tense after protesters demanded the release of their leaders while burning tyres and barricading roads. Police fired tear gas to disperse crowds that stoned them. The violent protests continued from last week when people went on the rampage, damaging property and infrastructure.

Ward councillor Lindile Ntsabo said the protest is no longer about “the land issue”; the protesters are now demanding the release of Gcobani Ndzongana and the other 19 fellow community members who were arrested during an initial protest.

“The land issue was settled on the 27th of March by the Department of Human Settlement, and everyone seemed to be happy,” said Ntsabo.

“On Friday, Premier Helen Zille attempted to address the angry residents of Zwelihle about the escalating violence in the area. The residents did not allow her to say a word and instead of engaging her on their grievances threw stones she was forced to abandon her attempts and left.”

Ntsabo added: “Some of the community members are scared, they are being held hostage, some are told and threatened to protest.”

Theron Mqhu, a spokesperson from, Zwelihle Renewal, said: “The tensions remain high in our community. People are frustrated and angry, demanding their leaders be released from police custody.”

“We are standing with the community that it will be a total shutdown till the return of Gcobani,” said Mqhu.

Protesting residents threw stones at the police members on patrol, while in return, police officers fired tear gas at the community on Monday.

Western Cape police monitoring the situation in Hermanus. VIDEO: Sisonke Mlamla/Cape Argus.

The committee of the Hermanus Animal Welfare Society issued a statement on Facebook, claiming that animals were being abused in these protests. “The Hermanus Animal Welfare Society condemns in the strongest terms the appalling incident where one of the Zwelihle protesters swung a cat on a rope and then threw it in a fire.”

They added: “We cannot identify the perpetrator of this criminal act, and we trust that there are members of the community who will come forward and give the police information”

Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk appealed to those participating in the protest to do so within the law.

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Cape Argus