Hermanus protest damage rises to R40m
The Overstrand Municipality says damage caused to infrastructure and equipment by protesting Zwelihle residents in Hermanus has amounted to about R40 million.
Angry residents who vowed to shut down the area have been clashing with police since last week. More than 40 protesters were arrested, and 19 appeared in court on Friday.
Municipal manager Coenie Groenewald said: “Infrastructure and equipment, including the conveyor belt and baler at the recycling plant (among others), have been burnt, which has caused substantial damage to the waste transfer and recycling plants. Current estimates of damage, but not limited to, the Hermanus Sewage Works, swimming pool buildings, various other buildings and roads, amount to about R40m.”
Groenewald said no recycling could take place in Hermanus or Kleinmond any longer, and clear recycling bags would therefore in the interim no longer be provided. The area which has been marred by violence has also forced several schools to shut down.
Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the disruptions in the community also affected pupils travelling to schools outside of Zwelihle, to areas such as Hermanus and Kleinmond, which affected attendance.
“We are currently developing contingency plans, including tutoring programmes to assist learners who have not been able to go to school since Tuesday due to violent protest action in the area. The safety of our learners and educators is paramount.
“It is disheartening that their education is being affected and we will provide as much support as we can once they return.
“It is also unfortunate that the protest action has resulted in vandalism to Mount Pleasant School’s perimeter fence and some of the school windows and doors.
“Our schools are community assets and should be treated as such,” said Hammond.
Residents have demanded the release of community leader Gcobani Ndzongana and for all charges to be dropped.
Ndzongana was due to appear in court today on charges of malicious damage to property and inciting violence.
Minister of Police Bheki Cele, his special adviser Lennit Max and Premier Helen Zille are scheduled to visit the area tomorrow.