Arrests made after cyclist’s murder

Lieutenant Colonel Chris Labuschagne, far left, addressing the community at a Neighbourhood Watch meeting last week after the death of Ian McPherson.

Three men alleged to be involved in the murder and robbery of cyclist, Ian McPherson, 68, last week, made a brief appearance in the Simon’s Town Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Mr McPherson was robbed of his bike and stabbed to death while cycling near the Fish Hoek sports fields in Sun Valley(“Cyclist stabbed to death,” Echo, March 15).

Two of the three men were arrested on Wednesday, one for being in possession of Mr McPherson’s bicycle and the other for being in possession of his cellphone. They face charges of possession of stolen property.

On Thursday a third suspect, in his 20s, was arrested in Philippi and charged with the murder of Mr McPherson.

He is expected back in court next week for a bail application.

On Wednesday evening, members of the community and cycling fraternity joined a neighbourhood watch meeting at the Glencairn Hotel to talk about the increase in crime in the valley and to pay respects to Mr McPherson.

The community made it clear that they had had enough of crime and wanted action to be taken. They expressed concern at what seemed like “half-hearted” efforts from the police to safeguard the community following several attacks of runners and cyclists.

They feel that not enough was being done to deter criminals and a shortage of police officers and neighbourhood watch patroller volunteers were a contributing factor.

Manu Chaudree from Mach 1 Security echoed the concerns of the community. He said existing structures such as neighbourhood watches were already in place across the valley but said while the theory of all stakeholders working together was wonderful, in reality everyone was on their own and the community was left to look out for themselves.

He said the philosophy of embracing multi-disciplinary teams should become practice.

“We have access to technology and the boundaries should be broken down in order to use all the systems together. The fact that you can’t use a drone when a suspect is in hideout on the mountain is madness. That bureaucracy needs to be thrown out and something needs to be done about it,” he said.

His statement was met with applause from the community.

“We have the technology, we have the people and we need to take the role. We can’t say it’s the police’s responsibility, it’s our responsibility. It’s a civic responsibility,” he said.

Lieutenant Colonel Chris Labuschagne was on standby to address concerns from the community.

DA Chief Whip, Mark Wiley addressed the community and extended his condolences to the cycling community.

He said he wanted to address a number of issues mentioned in the meeting that were factually incorrect, among them that police’s efforts to fight crime had been “half-hearted”.

He said the South African Police Service in the Western Cape was the most under-resourced police department in the country.

He encouraged residents to report crimes as resourcing was based on crime statistics and said the more they got involved, the more they would understand the psychology of crime and the political world.

Hesaidastaxpayers residents were entitled to demand state resources to support them in combating crime but said it was not happening in many aspects.

He used SANParks as an example and asked if there was a SANParks representative at the meeting. There was not.

He said although the meeting had been widely advertised, SANParks which was a primary role-player in the fight against crime in its own territory, was not present.

“The largest part of the peninsula falls under their jurisdiction and we are going to call on Provincial Parliament for an enquiry relating to the management of Table Mountain National Parks (TMNP),” he said.

Mr Wiley believes crimes such as murder in a TMNP area were economic crimes as they became world news and thereby impacted tourism.

“Cape Town is a tourist-centric province and every time these crimes happen, we get a reputation of a tourist unsafe destination and therefore we need to hold all role-players such as state institutions as well as the public accountable,” he said.