Looking back

As 2018 draws to an end we look back at some of the stories that made headlines in the far south this year.

Fish Hoek celebrated its centenary but instead of festivities, the community mourned the death of two local residents after attacks on tourists and locals hiking and visiting Noordhoek Beach, spiked at the beginning of the year.

A tourist was stabbed near the Kakapo shipwreck on Noordhoek Beach on Saturday January 6 which brought the number of attacks to 17 in 70 days, according to Table Mountain Watch, (“Beach crime wave,” Echo, January 11).

A week later, Saturday January 13, five more hikers were stabbed on the mountain near the amphitheatre above Kalk Bay. Police launched a manhunt for two men and SANParks moved to deploy more resources to the mountains (“Call for hiker safety,” Echo, January 18).

Despite promises to deploy additional resources on the mountains, Kalk Bay resident, Doug Notten, 57 was stabbed to death on Sunday January 28 while hiking with his wife above Echo Valley (“Murder on the mountain,” Echo, February 1).

Two weeks later a Bellville man and his family were attacked by a knife-wielding man on Noordhoek Beach. His wife was hit over the head with an empty bottle after the attacker’s knife broke during the attack (“Another beach attack shocks community,” Echo, February 22).

On Saturday March 3 a 56-year-old woman was robbed of her bike at knifepoint while cycling on a path through the Clovelly Golf Course in the direction of Ou Kaapse Weg (“Cyclist robbed at knife- point”, Echo, March 8).

Two weeks later, tragedy struck when Ian McPherson, 68, a member of the Recyclers Club for retired cyclists, was robbed of his bike and brutally stabbed to death on Tuesday morning March 13 while cycling near the Fish Hoek sports fields (“Cyclist stabbed to death,” Echo, March 15).

Then, on Sunday March 27, Scarborough resident, Anna Cornelius, 57, drowned while swimming at Scarborough beach. Ms Cornelius was an avid swimmer and was said to have been recovering from a chest infection when she went out swimming (“Mom’s tragic end at sea,” Echo, March 29).

Her death came less than a year after her daughter, Hannah Cornelius’s body was found on the side of a road near a wine farm outside Stellenbosch on May 27, 2017.

She had been raped and murdered (“Two men arrested for Hannah’s murder,” Echo, June 1, 2017).

In April, there was some good news. The City of Cape Town announced that Masiphumelele would get a new taxi rank and construction of the rank- estimated to cost R13.8 million would start in May. The new facility will accommodate about 60 minibus-taxis and will include an administration building where operators and management can conduct meetings (“Big boost for Masi taxi rank,” Echo, April 5). Construction is currently under way and is expected to be complete early next year.

Later in the month, a 34-year-old man was arrested and charged with the murders of Mr McPherson and Mr Notten who died within weeks of each other.

Zimbabwean nationa,* Blessing Bveni, of Philippi East is currently in custody and awaiting trial for the murders of both men (“Arrest for knife murders,” Echo, April 26).

In May, Vrygrond became a war zone as residents demanded housing on a piece of Vrygrond land that was not earmarked for housing or suitable for human habitation.

Marina da Gama residents’ cars were stoned, two flats facing Vrygrond were petrol bombed and one case of attempted murder was opened by a woman who suffered burns, after her car was set alight by rioters from Vrygrond, (“Casualties of violence,” Echo May 3).

Two weeks later, businesses in the area were targeted by rioters and the restaurant of community stalwart, Elaine Meyer, was petrol bombed while she and staff were inside. The till was stolen along with stock, (“Riots resurge,” Echo May 17). On Saturday, May 19 tensions reached boiling point as about 15 women gathered at the intersection of Prince George Drive and Oudevlei Road, burning tyres.

However, it was a protest of a different kind and it turned out the women were protesting because they had done “honest work” as part of the City’s Expanded Public Works Programme but had not been paid, (“Tensions mount between Vrygrond and Marina,” Echo, May 24).

In June, residents and “dry” town activists sighed a sigh of relief when Fish Hoek’s “dry town” status was declared safe after the Western Cape Liquor Authority’s licensing tribunal (WCLAT) declined an application by Pick * Pay to open a bottle store in The Arcade, saying it was not in the interest of the public (“Valley’s ‘dry’ town status safe,” Echo, June 28). However, this issue was far from over.

In July, Lakeside residents welcomed the life sentence of Sheree Prince, known as the Lakeside Butcher, in the Western Cape High Court, on Friday June 29, for the April 2015 murder of Lakeside resident, Sandra Malcolm, 74. Ms Prince admitted to stabbing Ms Malcolm 24 times, then decapitating and dismembering her before stuffing her remains in a bin and another container (“Life sentence for ‘butcher’,” Echo, July 5).

Later in July the streets of Ocean View became a bloodbath after a sudden surge in suspected gang-related violence claimed the lives of five men in less than a month. About 200 residents, some carrying placards saying “Ocean View lives matter” and “Why should parents bury these kids?” gathered at the Ocean View police station on Sunday July 8 and handed a memorandum to station commander Lieutenant Colonel Monwabisi Buzwayo demanding for action to be taken (“Mother bury their sons,” Echo, July 12).

In August, the City announced it had started recruiting 100 law-enforcement officers for a pilot Rail Enforcement Unit, following a wave of arson that has seen scores of train carriages torched, causing millions of rand in damage. The City, Province and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) will jointly pick up the R48 million tab for the unit’s operational costs, according to JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety, security and social services (“Rail rescue,” Echo, August 9).

Later that month, Pick * Pay submitted a notice of appeal to the WCLAT questioning the decision by the Liquor Licensing Tribunal (LLT) to turn down an application to open a bottle store in The Arcade. This meant the valley’s “dry” town status was once again hanging in the balance (“Dry or wet debate,” Echo, August 16).

On Tuesday August 21, Premier Helen Zille visited Ocean View for a report back on crime from station commander, Lieutenant Colonel Buzwayo after community members handed him a memorandum demanding action after a spike in violent crimes. He told the community police had, in just over a month, arrested 180 suspects, confiscated 10 guns and 84 rounds of ammunition (“Police progress in Ocean View,” Echo, August 23).

In September, the far south community was shocked by the murder of Sun Valley resident, Rob Sonnekus, 52. He was abducted from his Corsair Way home on Saturday August 11 and later found murdered. A-34-year-old man, out on early parole for murder, was arrested in connection with the incident (“Parolee arrest a shock,” Echo, September 6).

On Saturday October 20, a 1000-strong children’s choir performed at the Fish Hoek High School, in a first of its kind event in Cape Town, the Young Voices concert (“Young Voices dazzle,” Echo, October 25).

In November, Fish Hoek families who paid for memorial benches on the Fish Hoek beachfront to honour loved ones were shocked to learn the City of Cape Town had removed them without letting them know. Earlier this year, the City removed 21 memorial benches from the beachfront during the resurfacing of the walkway between the lighthouse and the Galley Restaurant, Although the City indicated it should have informed the residents it has offered no solution to the families (“Removal of benches ‘disrespectful’”, Echo, November 22).

The murder of Lakeside resident and guest house owner, Patrick Johannes, horrified the community, after he died from multiple stab wounds on Saturday November 17,(“Guesthouse murder sparks safety concern,” Echo, November 22).

While Fish Hoek residents have mixed emotions about the news that Fish Hoek will get its first bottle store, history was made on Thursday December 5 when the WCLAT ruled in the favour of Pick * Pay to open a bottle store in The Arcade. The town, which has had a “dry town” status for 200 years due to a 1818 title deed prohibiting the sale of alcohol, was declared invalid due to it being misinterpreted (“End of an era,” Echo, December 13).