Police are investigating after four teens were mugged and another one was accosted in separate incidents in Silverglade.
An overgrown greenbelt between The Glen and The Dale roads could have contributed to the incidents, which both happened on Riverside Road, according to the neighbourhood watch.
On Monday February 20, at about 5.30pm, a 16-year-old Grade 11 boy pepper-sprayed a man who threatened to stab him if he didn’t hand over his phone.
The boy’s mother, Yolandi Booyens, said her son had been returning from his girlfriend’s house in Milkwoodpark when he had noticed the man following him.
After her son crossed the wooden bridge on the Fish Hoek sports fields on his way to a friend’s house in Silverglade, the man grabbed his right arm and pulled a knife on him in Riverside Road.
“What he didn’t know is that my son is left-handed so he pulled pepper spray from his pocket and sprayed the man in the face,” she said.
The man stumbled backward and then ran off into the greenbelt.
The teen ran into the road and flagged down a car. The couple who had picked her son up had told him the same thing had happened to their son recently, said Ms Booyens.
Her son had described the man to police as being in his late 20s, missing a right incisor and having stubby facial hair.
“I am so proud of the way he handled the situation,” Ms Booyens said.
Earlier last month, on Friday February 10, at about 3pm, four Grade 10 boys were mugged on the same road.
The mother of one of the boys, Janis Theron, said they had been on their way to get a rugby ball and then go to the sports fields.
The boys had made their way from Fish Hoek High School past Valyland and walked past the Neighbourhood Farm then through a short pathway that connected to Riverside Road.
They had gone down Riverside Road and entered a pathway leading to the greenbelt when two men, one holding a knife, had demanded their phones, shoes, and money.
She said the men had told the boys they had a gun, and the boys had seen a “bulge” in one of the men’s shirts.
The boys parted with their shoes and phones, and her 15-year-old son had given them some money he had on him. She said the men had put on the boys’ shoes and run off.
Silverglade Neighbourhood Watch deputy chairman Andre Blom said the greenbelt was “very overgrown” and made an ideal hiding place.
Pathways between the greenbelts carried “a lot” of traffic as people and schoolchildren used them as short-cuts.
Some of the greenbelts had lights but some were “pitch black” after dark, he said.
“This creates an ideal opportunity for people to sleep there and hide out or sort items that have been stolen.”
The City had recently cut some of the trees but had not removed the cut branches, and about four piles of branches had created an ideal sleeping place for vagrants, he said.
In an attempt to create better visibility in the greenbelt, residents had cut some of the branches over the past weekend, Mr Blom said.
More lighting off Riverside Road and more CCTV cameras would help to reduce crime, he said.
Fish Hoek police spokesman Warrant Officer Peter Middleton said they were investigating both cases, but no arrests had been made.
Mayoral committee member for community services and health Patricia van der Ross said the City’s recreation and parks department had started pruning the trees on the greenbelt during the week of February 22 to ensure better visibility, and mowing had been scheduled for this week.
Rubbish scattered by bin pickers was cleared and the department would check with the City’s electricity department about installing street lights, she said.