Another beach attack shocks community

Dr Johan du Toit attending to Sann le Grange after she was hit over the head with a bottle during an attack on Noordhoek Beach with her husband and daughter. In front is her daughter, Bernadette Denisow.

A Bellville man and his family who were attacked by a knife-wielding man on Noordhoek Beach on Saturday want SANParks to stop creating the illusion that the beaches are safe.

Dewald Le Grange, 59, said he was aware SANParks couldn’t watch every inch of the parks but it should be honest with users, and let them know they were responsible for their own safety.

Dewald and his wife Sann, 57, thought a walk on Noordhoek Beach would be an ideal outing with their daughter, Bernadette Denisow, who is visiting from Bosnia for six weeks.

The family arrived at the beach parking area around 6.30am and made their way toward the Kakapo shipwreck.

On the way to the wreck, they passed a man carrying an empty wine bottle and Mr Le Grange said they had greeted him.

The man asked them where they were going and the next thing he pulled out a knife.

“At that moment, everything goes blank and you’re in survival mode,” Mr Le Grange said.

There was a scuffle between Mr Le Grange and the man as Mr Le Grange tried to protect himself with his backpack as the man jabbed at him with the knife.

The knife broke and the blade fell to the ground and the man was left standing with the handle in his hand.

He then stepped back, grabbed the wine bottle he was carrying. Ms Le Grange was closest to him at that moment and he hit her over the head with the bottle with the intention to break it but it didn’t
break.

“My wife was bleeding badly, and I wanted to help her so I gave him the backpack. He told me he wanted a cellphone, and I said my phone was in the bag. He then went through the bag and said there was no cellphone in it, so I was forced to give him my cellphone so I could help my wife,” Mr Le Grange said.

Two surfers, Pieter Berner and Johan du Toit, came to help the Le Granges.

Mr Du Toit is a doctor and had a first-aid kit with him. He helped Ms

Le Grange until the paramedics arrived to attend to her.

She received six stitches on her head behind her ear. Mr Le Grange said she was doing well under the circumstances.

He said that while his wife was being attended to, around 8.15am, four SANparks rangers had appeared.

He was told they should have been on duty at the beach at 7am.

“We were attacked around 7.50am and even if they were late and were patrolling by 7.45am, the attack could have been prevented,” Mr Le Grange said.

Mr Le Grange said they were very grateful for the assistance of the surfers, neighbourhood watches and the local residents who opened their home to them.

Police spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel André Traut, confirmed the incident and said that following the recent spate of robberies along Noordhoek Beach, the SAPS has centralised Fish Hoek and Ocean View dockets of all incidents in order to determine patterns and similarities.

He said police, along with City law enforcement and SANParks
staff, were doing regular joint
patrols as a “crime prevention initiative”.

SANParks spokeswoman, Merle Collins, said Table Mountain National Park management would respond to questions at a media briefing tomorrow,Friday February 23.