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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor


Mystery death: Body of man in wetsuit found on PE beach

Police have established the identity of the man whose body was found on the isolated beach of Cape Recife on Tuesday afternoon. 


Mystery surrounds the discovery of the body of a man in a wetsuit that was discovered on an isolated beach at Cape Recife, in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), on Tuesday afternoon.

The grim discovery was made while heavy rains battering Cape Town swept across the Garden Route and further eastwards towards Nelson Mandela Bay. The downpour, which started on Monday, has continued throughout Tuesday and Wednesday.

Whether the man’s death is related in any way to the stormy seas and disruptive rain lashing the metro could, however, not be confirmed by the police.

Body on Bape Recife beach: Man in wetsuit identified

Police spokesperson Sandra Janse van Rensburg told The Citizen that the man has been identified, but details cannot be made public until his next of kin has been informed.

The body was found on the beach at approximately 5.20pm on the seaward side of the SA National Defence Force’s (SANDF) shooting range.

Van Rensburg could not confirm whether there were any visible injuries or whether the man drowned. She said that the cause of death would only be determined during the postmortem.

Questioned around the estimated age and race of the man, as well as where his body was found on the beach and whether he was wearing a surf or diving wetsuit, Janse van Rensburg said more information will be released later as the investigation advances.

Cape Recife surfing and perlemoen poaching

The reserve in Cape Recife is popular among divers, anglers, kayakers and surfers although when the wind picks up, the massive swell off Thunderbolt Reef is not to be toyed with.

The iconic lighthouse on the beach at Cape Recife. Photo: iStock

According to research by Rhodes University about the modus operandi of the perlemoen poaching syndicate industry in the Eastern Cape, in the past, Cape Recife earned itself the unenviable reputation of serving as a “training ground” for poachers entering the business.

Over the years, Port Elizabeth has become infamous for perlemoen poaching, with major abalone resources situated between Kini Bay, Cape Recife, and Bird Island.

In February 2024, the HeraldLIVE reported that a multi-disciplinary perlemoen anti-poaching team seized more than R700,000 worth of diving equipment and vehicles in Nelson Mandela Bay following a high-speed chase along Marine Drive on the beachfront.

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