With 2017 drawing to a close, we look at the big news moments of the past year, as featured in your weekly news companion, the False Bay Echo.
January 2017 started off with the mourning of the death of baby ZahniaWoodward who was shot dead in a shootout in Carnation Road, in Ocean View, on Friday December 30, 2016, which wounded three men (“Residents mourn Zahnia’s death,” Echo, January 5).
The following week, carried good news as Fish Hoek High School celebrated a 99.6% pass rate, and a 73% Bachelor’s (university entrance) pass rate. Simon’s Town High School achieved 97%, Ocean View Secondary School 86.6% pass rate and Muizenberg High School 96.3 % pass rate, (“Fish Hoek High School scores 99.6%,” Echo, January 12).
Later that week, two far south mosques were desecrated when a raw pig’s snout was placed on the gate of the Noorul Islam Mosque in Simon’s Town, and the interior of the Masjidul-Jamiah Kalk Bay Mosque was trashed (“Mosque hit by hate crimes,” Echo, January 12).
In February, Muizenberg High School principal Dave Shaw retired after 40 years in education, (“Mr Shaw closes the book on teaching,” Echo, February 2).
Later that month, the City of Cape Town was ordered by the director of Environmental Law Enforcement, Dr Eshaam Palmer, to clean up the filthy canals in Masiphumelele as they posed a serious threat to residents living in the area, (“Canal cleanse on the cards,” Echo, February 9).
A controversial topic, Fish Hoek’s status as a dry town, reared its head when Pick * Pay applied for a liquor license, (“Bottle store application for ‘dry’ Fish Hoek,” Echo, February 16).
Fish Hoek residents hit back after Pick * Pay franchisee Peter Hobson said Pick * Pay customers would enjoy the convenience of buying liquor where they shopped, (“Support for booze block,” Echo, February 23).
The Emma Animal Rescue Society (TEARS) had to cut back on some of its welfare services until it could re-evaluate its financial situation.
The society ran into trouble due to a spike in animals needing care (“Tough times for TEARS,” Echo, February 16).
In March, the City’s proposal to extend Houmoed Avenue to Lekkerwater Road was not well met by affected parties at the first meeting presented by Chand Environmental Consultants who are directing the basic environmental impact assessment (“New road plan is South”, Echo, March 2).
This was followed by protests in Masiphumelele just hours before the Cape Town Cycle tour. Residents blocked roads and called for ward councillor Felicity Purchase to step down, making the ANC’s Tshepo Moletsane their only representative (“Service uproar in Masi,” Echo, March 16).
The announcement that the Muizenberg police station would be upgraded at a cost of R100 million raised eyebrows in the community with residents arguing that the money should be spent on communities where it is most needed such as Langa, Nyanga and Vrygrond, (“Station upgrade uproar,” Echo, April 13).
Thecommunity of Ocean View was shocked after the double execution-style shooting of two friends, Tony Hartzenberg, 31, and Shagun O’Malley, 32, in a park in Comet Road,onThursday April 20. Four men were arrested by police, (“Shootings continue in Ocean View,” Echo, April 27).
Then, in May, the brutal murder and rape of Stellenbosch student and Scarborough resident Hannah Cornelius shook the far south community.
Two men were arrested for her murder and rape. Since the Echo reported on the arrest, (“Two men arrested for Hannah’s murder,” Echo, June 1), another two men have been arrested and are on trial in the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court.
Eben van Niekerk, Nashwill Julies, Vernon Witbooi and Geraldo Parsons are charged with murder, kidnapping and rape, following the attack on Ms Cornelius and her close friend, Cheslin Marsh, in May.
In mid-July, crime spiked on the catwalk in St James and Muizenberg after a gang of youths and two people masquerading as a couple committed a slew of muggings. (“Catwalk crime spike,” Echo, July 13).
In August, tragedy struck when former Fish Hoek resident Austin Wesson and his bride, Rebekah Bouma-Wesson of Wichita in America were both killed in a car accident on Saturday August 5 – a day after their wedding. The newlyweds were just 19 years old (“Shattered dreams,” Echo, August 17).That same month, the proposal to build a fire station on Solole farm angered Masiphumelele residents who said the land had been earmarked for much needed formal housing and complained that they had not been consulted about the matter (“Fire station uproar,” Echo, August 31).
Gang violence in Ocean View reached boiling point when nine-year-old Aqeel Davids was shot in the head by a stray bullet.
Aqeel and his family had been preparing for his grandmother’s wedding the following day, when the shooting happened, (“Casualties of war,” Echo, September 14).
Following the relentless violence in Ocean View, a peaceful march turned into a violent three-day protest during which Ocean View residents blocked Kommetjie Road, at Slangkop Road, and Atlantic Street with burning barricades, demanding solutions to the crime and violence in the area. A visit by MEC for Community Safety, Dan Plato calmed the situation when he addressed protesters on Friday September 22, (“Rise to end violence,” Echo, September 28).
In October, rape survivor and author of The Dark Seed, Lily Reed, talked to the Echo about her opinion on the #MeToo campaign that took the internet by storm and the importance of speaking out after being sexually assaulted or raped.
It was the #MeToo campaign that prompted former ANC MP and singer Jennifer Ferguson to speak out about how she was allegedly raped by a former high-ranking South African Football Association official, (“Voices against violence,” Echo, October 26).
Three weeks ago, following the intervention of the public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, the City signed a settlement agreement with Masiphumelele residents agreeing to move those living in the wetlands to erf 5131, a property west of the Masiphumelele sports fields and north of the waste water treatment works, and provide them with low-cost housing, (“Agreement with City victory for Masi,” Echo, December 5).
Two weeks ago, the City confirmed that Amdec Evergreen, the property developers of the Noordhoek Evergreen Lifestyle Village was non-compliant after dust emissions from the site breached national regulations. Dust has been a huge problem for Sun Valley residents who are caught between roadworks from the Kommetjie Road upgrade project and the development of the retirement complex (“Village in dust bust,” Echo, December 14).