Plett still volatile after violent protest action

Haydee de Doncker is still in ICU in the Mediclinic George after their vehicle was pelted with bricks by violent protesters last week near Plettenberg Bay. Photo: Haydee de Doncker

Only 33 of the 81 suspects who were arrested during the violent protest action in Plettenberg Bay appeared in court last week.

Nearly a week after violent protests held Plettenberg Bay hostage, 56-year-old Haydee de Doncker from Port Elizabeth is still fighting for her life in the Mediclinic George.

De Doncker and her husband, Keith, were on their way home from a family holiday in Gouritsmond, when protesters pelted their vehicle with bricks. De Doncker, who was sitting on the passenger side, sustained serious injuries when one of the bricks hit her on the side of her head, reports George Herald.

According to her daughter, Erin Burns, De Doncker sustained fractures to her face as well as a head injury when the brick that was meant for her father, who was driving, hit her mother.

ALSO READ: Bus crash blocks road used to divert motorists amid violent Plett protests

Haydee and her husband, Keith, were travelling on the N2 near Plettenberg Bay when their vehicle was pelted with bricks.

“They actually first threw the bricks through the driver’s side and nearly hit my dad, but he managed to get out of the way. The worst is that the police directed them to take the detour where it all happened. When my father made a u-turn to get back to the police, they looked at him and said ‘take her to hospital’. He doesn’t know the area and had to beg the police to escort them to the nearest hospital,” Burns told the George Herald.

The police could not confirm any arrests relating to the incident.

Only 33 of the 81 suspects who were arrested during the violent protest action in Plettenberg Bay last week appeared in the Plettenberg Bay Magistrate’s Court on Monday. They face charges of public violence, housebreaking, and possession of stolen property.

According to police communications officer Sgt Chris Spies, seven suspects were positively linked to public violence and housebreaking incidents. They were remanded in custody and will appear in court for a formal bail application on August 2.

Spies said that 19 suspects are facing charges of public violence. “They were released on R1,000 bail and the matter was postponed to 24 July. Seven other suspects that were arrested at Kwanokuthula are facing charges of housebreaking and theft. They were released on a warning to appear in court again on 14 August.”

The other 48 suspects who were arrested were released due to insufficient evidence at this stage. “They could, however, be re-arrested and brought before court as the investigation into these matters [unfolds],” said Spies.

According to a Plettenberg Bay resident, the situation remains volatile. Spies confirmed that public order police (Pops) were still monitoring the area and would remain in the area until the situation had stabilised.

Three die in bus accident

The Kwanokuthula detective branch is investigating a case of culpable homicide after three people died during a bus accident on the airport road in Harkerville on Friday 5 July at approximately 3am.

The bus driver was forced to use this road as a detour when the N2 was closed during the violent protest action that shook Plettenberg Bay last week. It had been raining and the road was wet.

“Preliminary investigation into this matter indicates that the passenger bus was travelling from Cape Town to East London when the vehicle left the road and overturned,” said Spies.

The driver of the vehicle and two passengers sustained serious injuries and were declared dead by paramedics on the scene. One of the deceased was a 16-year-old girl from East London.

“Forty-three passengers were hospitalised for various injuries and 23 were taken to a nearby community centre where they received emergency assistance. Investigation into this matter is at an early stage and the names of the deceased will be released later,” said Spies.

The N2 was reopened on Saturday.

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