Looters strip Fish River Resort in Eastern Cape

02 May 2023 - 08:05 By Sue Maclennan
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A stripped Toyota Quantum at the Fish River Resort.
A stripped Toyota Quantum at the Fish River Resort.
Image: Mark Andrews

Vehicles with trailers were used to load millions of rand worth of goods from the Fish River Resort in the Eastern Cape in a huge looting spree during the weekend.

Police spokesperson Brig Thembinkosi Kinana said items stolen from the resort included stoves, fridges, television sets, and IT equipment.

Kinana said it was alleged that during a daytime burglary on Saturday, every room at the resort was burgled and many items stolen.

“It is further alleged that vehicles with trailers were used to load items from the resort,” Kinana said. “The office areas were also broken into and all computers and projectors stolen. A Quantum minibus was completely stripped on the premises. The damage incurred including the stolen property is estimated to be millions of rand.”

Some of the stolen items were recovered hidden in nearby bushes.

After receiving a tipoff, police arrested a woman in Mpekweni with suspected stolen property taken from the resort. The woman, in her late 20s, will appear in the Peddie magistrate’s court on Tuesday on a charge of possession of suspected stolen property.

Further arrests were anticipated, Kinana said, adding a case of burglary was under investigation.

He said security guards had since been posted to guard the premises.

The resort belongs to the Prudhoe Trust after a 22-and-a-half-year struggle. This came after the Supreme Court of Appeal in June 2020 upheld the landmark decision by the Land Claims Court to award a large portion of land, including the Fish River resort, to the Prudhoe community.

This time last year, digital asset exchange Forus announced an investment of R500m to upgrade the resort, including the creation of the world-class Fish River Studios. This was set to unlock a new revenue stream for the site, the community, and surrounding areas. June 2022 saw the shooting of Survivor SA Season 9 at the resort.

But the plan was marred barely two months later by a group seeking direct and immediate benefits, who occupied the resort and forcibly evicted 48 members of an international film crew.

The company managing the facility was unable to meet the financial commitment to the Prudhoe Trust and was forced to abandon it.

The Legal Resources Centre was instrumental in securing the land claim for the Prudhoe community and in facilitating negotiations with investors to maintain the facility as an asset for the region.

Commenting on the weekend's looting, regional director of the Legal Resource Centre Cameron McConnachie said the LRC was extremely saddened by the theft and destruction at the resort.

“Many stakeholders have tried to assist with securing the property since the previous tenant could not fulfil their obligations and abandoned the site with no protection from thieves. Attempts to find a new tenant to run the property have been unsuccessful, but will continue despite this setback,” McConnachie said.

Talk of the Town

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