Boy, 14, ‘shot in mouth by rubber bullet’

Hout Bay was on high alert on Tuesday afternoon after a 14-year-old boy allegedly was shot by a rubber bullet.

A protest against cuts to fishing rights as well as ongoing housing issues in Hangberg erupted in the afternoon in the wake of the shooting. Several windows at Mariner’s Wharf were smashed before protesters burnt tyres and fired flares onto Atlantic Skipper Road at the entrance to Hangberg, where Public Order Policing officers and nyalas were stationed.

Hout Bay police spokesperson Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch said: “It is alleged that a 14-year-old boy was shot with a rubber bullet during the protest and taken to the fire station for treatment.

“A Metro Police officer was injured due to a flare that was fired at him and he injured his foot.”

The boy, who eyewitnesses said had been shot in the mouth, was airlifted to hospital.

The initial protest was over the allocation of fishing rights, which in some cases have been slashed by more than 50% by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. However, a number of Hangberg residents are also protesting against delays in the roll-out of adequate housing and services in Hangberg.

While tyres were burnt along Harbour Road, it was only after the boy was shot that the protest escalated, according to residents on the scene.

Flares were allegedly stolen off boats in the harbour as the protesters descended on the precinct. People dining at Mariner’s Wharf were also led out of the complex towards the beach for their safety.

When the protest moved to Hangberg, the flares were fired on police who in turn fired stun grenades and rubber bullets.

Regular police sorties into Hangberg in an attempt to quell the uprising were met with petrol bombs, rocks and flares. The nyalas then returned to their position at the bottom of Atlantic Skipper Road.