Police raid Hangberg homes in poaching, drugs clampdown

Law enforcement officials came out in full force on Thursday to clamp down on alleged poachers in Hangberg, Hout Bay, with some residents responding by lighting flares and burning tyres.

Police raided homes in the neighbourhood during a planned crime prevention operation.

In response, residents started protesting, flares were fired and tyres were burned in Atlantic Skipper Road and Karbonkel Road, police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said.

READ: Cops killed Hout Bay fisherman, witnesses say

When News24 arrived on the scene, members of the Public Order Policing Unit, Special Task Force and National Intervention Unit were attempting to restore peace.

"Traditional fisherman" Edward Carolissen said that police had started raiding homes in search of poachers.

"The police came [to my home] with a lot of guns, started kicking down doors. It just went crazy," he said.

"They came here looking for crayfish and an illegal firearm."

READ: IPID to investigate shooting of teenage Hout Bay boy

Carolissen believes that poaching is the only way to support his family.

"There is no work for us here. We must live from the sea. The [big fishing companies] employ foreigners so that they can pay them less," he claimed.

"They cut our fishing rights. We can only work for two months and then sit at home for 10 months. No one gets quotas here."

'They just kicked the door open'

Melinda Stanbull, who says she is not involved in poaching, said: "We just got phone calls, saying I must come home because the police kicked down my door open.

"They were told that [no one was home]. My son-in-law said that he would open the door, but they just kicked the door open."

No arrests have been made.

Hout Bay DA councillor Roberto Quintas said that he was uncertain if the operation was aimed at poachers.

"Members of the community have been calling for police intervention for many years now," he said.

"We have youths losing their lives to drugs, gangsterism. In fact, community members actually pointed the drug dens out. The community has been extremely supportive of the operation."

Earlier this month, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana said that he had issued directives to accelerate the process of fishing rights for local communities.

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