Cele demands return of gun stolen off officer during attack in Zwelihle

Man arrested for allegedly being in possession of officer's shotgun, but 9mm is still missing

Cele demands return of gun stolen off officer during attack in Zwelihle

20 July 2018

Police Minister Bheki Cele issued a stern instruction to police in Hermanus on Friday to find the gun that was still missing after a serious attack on an officer in Zwelihle.

"There is one missing and I want it before I leave here," Cele told officers who came from as far as Napier and Villiersdorp.

The officer was attacked in Zwelihle on Thursday night during a police operation to "quell violence" and is understood to be in a serious condition.

He was robbed of his 9mm firearm and shotgun during the attack.

Western Cape police spokesperson André Traut could not confirm reports that the officer was hit in the face with an axe.

A man was arrested for allegedly being in possession of the officer's shotgun, but the 9mm is still missing.

Four other people were also arrested on Thursday night.

At least 50 have been arrested so far on charges including public violence and malicious damage to property.

This included Gcobani Ndzongana, a member of the Zwelihle Renewal Committee set up to liaise with government officials over land promises.

For more than a week there have been protests in the area demanding that Ndzongana be released.

He appeared in the Strand Magistrate's Court on Friday on charges of malicious damage to property and incitement and will stay in custody until his next appearance on July 27.

On Thursday, access to Hermanus CBD from Zwelihle was strictly controlled to keep people out of the town when Ndzongana appeared in the Hermanus Magistrate's court. The case was then moved to Strand.

Zwelihle has been at the centre of protracted negotiations to find more land for residents there to build on. This has been marked by protests and burning of buildings.

Cele told the officers gathered that the situation in Hermanus was their biggest test yet.

"Your job is to protect and serve," he said. "But this must be without bloodshed," added Cele.

"But you must be tough. Very tough to everybody who shows elements of criminality, but protect members of the community."

He then went into a meeting with community and business representatives.