A man was arrested with a police shotgun after an officer was robbed of his pistol and shotgun on Thursday night in Hermanus.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andrè Traut said on Friday the officer whose weapons were stolen was “severely assaulted” by protesters in Zwelihle‚ and taken to hospital.
“Operations to quell the violence in the area … led to the arrest of a 32-year-old suspect who was caught in possession of the SAPS shotgun and ammunition. Four other suspects were arrested on charges of public violence‚” he said.
“Our deployments will remain on high alert in the area to maintain law and order.”
Police Minister Bheki Cele is due to visit Zwelihle on Friday afternoon to meet protesters — one of the conditions put forward by protest leaders in order for there to be a peace agreement.
Protests began two weeks ago over the question of land‚ but following the arrest of several alleged instigators the prisoners have become the focus of unrest.
On Thursday‚ protest leader Gcbani Ndzongana‚ 37‚ appeared briefly in Hermanus Magistrate’s Court after being arrested last week when he and hundreds of other Zwelihle residents tore down a fence they said was built to enforce segregation between the township and more affluent neighbourhoods.
A large contingent of police guarded the court and cordoned off every road into the township.
Resident Asanda Mlonyeni confirmed claims that protesters were targeting community members who were going to work‚ saying he supported the burning of people’s homes and belongings if they tried to do so.
He said the protest was about land and blamed the municipality for not making more land available to residents.
Zwelihle Renewal Committee‚ Ndzongana’s group which has been driving the protest action‚ is demanding his release and says only Cele’s presence can resolve the standoff.