The Kuils River Community Police Forum (CPF) has warned residents to be on their guard on sidewalks near Zewenwacht Mall and along Langverwacht Road after a series of muggings in the area.
Alarmingly, two victims who described their ordeals at the hands of the muggers to Northern News said they hadn’t bothered to report the crimes to the police because they didn’t think it would do any good.
Northern News sent questions to the Kuils River police on Thursday last week about the muggings, but by the time this edition went to print they had not responded.
The trauma is still fresh for a Jagtershof woman who was attacked near a row of trees by a man with a knife on Langverwacht Road, as she walked to work, at about 6.30am, on Thursday June 30. She spoke to Northern News on condition we didn’t use her name.
She said she had noticed a “shady man” riding his bicycle past her a few times before another man came from behind and grabbed her neck. She believes the cyclist was the mugger’s accomplice.
“I pleaded to him to let me go… I managed to get out of his grip,” she said. But the thug was clutching her handbag which she had slung across her body. The man used his knife to cut the strap and then fled. The woman hurt her shoulder in the tussle.
“All this time I had been screaming at the top of my lungs for someone to help me. I had to let go of the bag because he would have stabbed me.” The mother-of-two said she had been left so traumatised by the incident her hysteria woke up her three-year-old baby when she got home.
“Ever since then, I’ve been so jumpy. I’m afraid to walk past that row of trees. Everyone looks suspicious to me now.” She no longer walks to work.
Andiswa Qama, a domestic worker from Bloekombos, Kraaifontein, was robbed of her handbag on the same sidewalk on a morning in May last year. She said it had left her so shaken she stopped using the road, opting for a longer route to work instead.
The robber walked past her, then came from behind and cut her handbag with a “knife with a big blade”.
Soon afterwards she had heard from people working in the area that an old woman had been robbed of her social grant on the same sidewalk.
“That place is very dangerous, and I don’t advise that people walk there because police aren’t doing anything about the robberies, even though some are reported,” she said.
CPF spokesman, Winston Davids, said the forum had spoken at length about the issue with Kuils River SAPS and armed response firms.
“(Zewenwacht and Langverwacht) sidewalks are one of the hot spots we’re looking at. It seems the robbers are targeting people using the sidewalks,” he said.
The Sector 4 neighbourhood watch was patrolling the area, but the robbers appeared to be staking it out at times when the patrols weren’t happening and when there were few people around, he said, urging residents to be vigilant.
The CPF executive was due to meet with the police next week and would again raise the issue of crime hot spots, Mr Davids said.