Bitou Municipality on Qolweni unrest: Thursday July 4

THE N2 at Plettenberg Bay between Shell Ultra City and KwaNokuthula remains closed. Safety of road users and pedestrians along the N2 remains a major issue. Traffic will still be redirected over the Robberg/Airport road.
All indications are that protests, mainly from the Qolweni community, will continue today. The SAPS indicated operations will be stepped up with extra resources to be deployed to manage the protests and crime with the view to open the N2 today.
In view of the ongoing impasse and the resulting safety risks to the staff, a directive has been issued that all offices will remain closed. We apologise to all our consumers unreservedly for the inconvenience suffered these past few days.
In the early hours of this morning (Thursday July 4), the office of the Youth & Sport Development Officer has been looted, ransacked and set alight. Last night, the USave shop in New Horizons and a number of business in the Plettenberg Bay Industrial area were also looted, with damages and losses that will probably run into millions.
Bitou wants to put on record that we no longer view what has transpired these past two days, particularly the criminal activities of last night and the early hours today, as a protest for service delivery.
The overwhelming public evidence is that this is rampant crime, accompanied by violence, looting, theft and the vandalism, malicious damage of public and private property with a total disregard of the losses and major inconvenience to business owners, their employees and families.
These criminal actions are denounced in the strongest possible terms. A call is done for any witnesses to come to the fore to give affidavits to SAPS, so that the criminals can be brought to account for their actions. Bitou will give all its support to the police
Regrettably we also have to inform the public that the meeting between Bitou Municipality and the leadership of the protest and unrest did not manage to resolve the impasse. Strangely, early during the proceedings requests was made for the resignation of two more councillors: DA councillors Dave Swart (Ward 2) and Anne Windvogel (Ward 4).
Unfortunately as we indicated with the call of the resignation of the Ward 3 councillor Mr Matyila, the deployment or recall of any councillor is beyond the mandate, scope and control of Bitou Municipality and is a matter for communities and voters to take up with the political parties that the councillors represent.
Council under the leadership of the speaker are only able to act against a councillor; taking regard of due processes and the principles of natural justice (fair procedure, audi alterem partem rule etc.,) if allegations is presented of serious breaches of the Code of Conduct for councillors.
Even if a decision of Council has been taken to remove a councillor, it is the mandate of the provincial minister to make a final determination to expel a councillor.
Any further developments will be duly shared with the public and the media.