A meeting between Hermanus protesters and Police Minister Bheki Cele broke up abruptly on Friday after Cele gave the community 72 hours to return a police firearm.
The pistol was taken from an officer who was hospitalised after a beating at the hands of protesters on Thursday‚ and Cele said he would enter discussions about the community’s grievances only when it was returned.
Cele went to Zwelihle after two weeks of protests which began over land but escalated after the arrest of several alleged instigators.
Protesters said they wanted talks with Cele before there could be a peace agreement‚ but Friday’s gathering of about 2‚500 people on the township sports field broke up after Cele’s ultimatum on the pistol.
Cele and his entourage left in a convoy of cars after the minister said riot police would be deployed in the township for the foreseeable future.
Community leader Siyabulela Notwala said the situation was likely to worsen because Cele did not hear any of their grievances‚ which include claims of a “racist” and incompetent police service.
Many roads in Zwelihle are barricaded with sewage pipes‚ tyres and concrete torn out of sidewalks.[source: times live]