Police apprehend suspects during protests in Hout Bay on Sunday. Picture: Leon Knipe

Cape Town - The family of missing fisherman Durick van Blerk, whose wife is pregnant, has called on protesters to respect them in "their hour of despair", calling for calm after two days of protesting in Hout Bay. 

This was stated by Roscoe Jacobs, a community worker, activist and regional co-ordinator for the ANC Youth League in the Dullah Omar region, in a Facebook post last night. About 150 protesters started burning tyres in the street again on Monday afternoon after Sunday's violence.

Jacobs also emphasised that "the call for the closure of Hout Bay" is not supported by Van Blerk's family nor the community, especially due to intervention from outside the area.

Angry Hangberg residents clashed with police and torched buildings and a vehicle on Sunday after two days of searching for Van Blerk, 26, presumed lost at sea following an altercation with the authorities on Friday.

He was alleged to have been fishing illegally. Police say two suspects were arrested, while a fishing boat with crayfish and fishing nets was seized.

Roscoe posted on Facebook: "As a community worker, activist and leader I call on residents of Hout Bay to respect the family of Durick van Blerk in their hour of despair. The priority for us now is to support the family, who wants their son to be found. Durick's wife is carrying his child and this unrest is not healthy for her and his unborn child.

"Together with the family we have engaged the SAPS, who will tomorrow send out their police divers to continue with the search. We have agreed with them to include our fishers who have boats in the search for Durick. This will be finalised tomorrow morning. 

"The family's request is for calm and for the public violence to end so that the police can search and find Durick, so let us respect and support their wishes. The family has asked for better communication between SAPS and themselves as the search for Durick continues.

"The call for the closure of Hout Bay is not supported by Durick's family nor the community. The family has communicated that IPID is investigating the incident, and have asked for space and time for this to take place so that justice can prevail.

"If people from outside Hout Bay come an assist us, they must not come here with the intention of closing Hout Bay as this will prevent the continuation of the search for Durick. They must not come here to speak for us as we are capable of speaking for ourselves. 

"Any such attempt to close off Hout Bay will be to our own disadvantage as schools and clinics will have to close, public transport will be suspended and working people will be unable to go and work.

"The appeal is for calm and peace from the family, so if you are joining the family on the harbour, let us all respect and support their request. This is not about us but about Durick being found." 

Cape Times