Hout Bay Harbour hit by theft, vandalism

A fishing boat in Hout Bay Harbour, similar to the one pictured here, was robbed recently while offloading its catch. Picture: Karen Watkins

A spate of vandalism and theft has plagued the Hout Bay Harbour in the past week.

Sentinel News last week received video footage of vandalised public toilets at the eastern section of Hout Bay Harbour.

It showed the harbour master, Pumla Gela, pointing to stolen mirrors, toilets, urinals, wash basins and piping before reporting the crime at Hout Bay police station.

Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment spokesman Peter Mbelengwa said the break-in happened on Thursday night July 27.

Mr Mbelengwa said the property belonged to the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure.

During the same week, Jane Fernandes, of the family-run Hout Bay fishery, Pescaluna, reported that staff offloading the catch from one of the company’s fishing boats had been held up, at 10am on Wednesday July 26, by a young Rasta, who had stolen a bin of kingklip and run down the quayside with it in a trolley.

He had pulled a knife when approached by security, according to Ms Fernandes, but no one had been hurt.

This incident also happened in the eastern section of the harbour, according to Ms Fernandes.

She also said that electrical cables had been stolen inside the harbour on the same day, and the company had been without power until last Friday when the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure had sent staff to carry out repairs.

Hout Bay police station commander Lieutenant Colonel Jerome Syster said police were investigating the robbery and acts of vandalism.

Ward councillor Roberto Quintas said ongoing criminality at the harbour was a blight on Hout Bay.

“It is an indictment on the apathy and mismanagement of the harbour by the national Department of Public Works and a tragedy that what could be a mass employer and catalyst for job creation and entrepreneurship, and what is the rightful jewel in Hout Bay’s crown in terms of tourism and appeal has become the unchecked and wide open playground of thugs and miscreants,” he said.

Public Works did not respond by deadline to a request for comment.

Cables cut in Hout Bay Harbour.
Cables being fixed by thethe Department of Public Works and Infrastructure in Hout Bay Harbour.