Zwelihle resident Sivuyisiwe Dyani claims he was injured by police when they searched for missing firearms during a violent protest in Hermanus. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) has deployed its officers to Zwelihle in Hermanus to probe claims that residents were injured at the hands of police officers.

“Our Western Cape office has been trying to make contact with the community leaders who reported such allegations since last week, but they were unreachable due to the volatile situation in the area,” said Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini.

"Ipid investigators have since established contact with these leaders to obtain their statements and more information to start an investigation."

The area has been rocked by violence as disgruntled residents have shut down the small town, demanding the release of their leaders, which they claim have been targeted.

The violence led to the torching of a library and the shutting down of schools, leaving matric pupils stranded ahead of their exams. Several buildings were also set alight and stoned, while a local clinic was shut down.

Police have since set up a base camp, with officers on high alert.

The municipality fears the damaged property could cost more than R40million to repair.

Mayor Dudley Coetzee said: “The damage to the Zwelihle satellite police station would cost R1345126, the library R5828880, the taxi rank R1452000, informal trading stalls R446770, the new housing development R1751788, the Zwelihle/Mount Pleasant swimming pool R1931647, housing offices R6277255, the Hermanus sewer plant R40000, the fence along Schulphoek Road R399833, the transfer station R12808291 and the recycle plant R7500000. These figures amounted to R39781590,” said Coetzee.

“As a result of criminal activities, we had to cease our recycling programme for the time being. No recycling can take place, resulting in job losses. The recycle swop shops, which benefited our children, have now become redundant. We sincerely hope that the visit of the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, will bear fruit,” Coetzee added.

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) said schools were not yet fully operational, with few pupils and teachers showing up. “A catch-up programme will be implemented to ensure that learners catch up on the work that was lost over the last seven schooldays,” said WCED spokesperson Jessica Shelver.