From the news desk

Hermanus residents turn on foreigners after body of woman found dumped along road

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Western Cape police have warned Hermanus residents to refrain from taking the law into their own hands after threats were made to about 600 foreigners who were “threatened” and made to “feel unsafe” in their homes on Thursday.

The threats follow the discovery of the body of an unknown 20-year-old woman on Wednesday in Still Street, which connects the Zwelihle informal settlement to Hermanus.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Wesley Twigg said a man had since been taken in for questioning.

“The circumstances surrounding the incident (are) subject of a police investigation. We can confirm that an adult male was taken in for questioning. The investigation continues,” said Twigg.

When news broke that a man from Zwelihle was taken in for questioning, residents started threatening people from the area.

Chairperson of the community policing forum(CPF) Eddie Holloway said police were called to the scene on Thursday after residents forcefully gained entrance into the man’s home, removed the contents from his home and set it alight.

“Threats were made to many of the non-South Africans who then felt afraid and asked officials to move them to a safe place until calmness is restored in the area,” Holloway said.

He said residents were told that the man arrested was a foreigner.

Holloway said:

Zwelihle residents were scared. Children and adults had to start leaving the area as the commotion became more intense.


On Thursday, residents, local police and municipality officials met to address the volatile situation in the area.

“The woman is unknown. No one has come forward to claim her missing, and we are unsure if she is from the area. Unfortunately, the discovery of this woman’s body has sparked tensions among residents,” Holloway said.

Zwelihle residents pleaded with police and municipality officials to house them until they felt safe enough to return home.

Overstrand municipality executive mayor Annelie Rabie confirmed that the temporarily displaced residents had since been reintegrated into the community on Friday.

“We (had) two incidents during the night, but we have no proof that the incidents were linked or related to the displacement of people,” Rabie said.

“It is problematic, and anxiety is fuelled, which is completely unnecessary. Before you press the button to post something, be very sure that you are posting facts,” Rabie added.

News24 was reliably informed that protests would take place should the suspect be charged with the woman’s murder.

However, the CPF said they had no confirmation that a protest would take place. “We do foresee that there might be activities around the court if the suspects are to appear in court. The area is very quiet following the commotion earlier in the week,” said Holloway.

Police have, in the interim, warned residents to act within the ambit of the law.  “We will not hesitate to take decisive action against those who find themselves on the wrong side of the law,” said Twigg.

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