ORIELLE BERRY AND STAFF REPORTER
A crime prevention meeting was held at Oostenberg Lodge in Kuils River on Wednesday March 30, conducted by Claude Julius, project manager of the Kuils River Community Police Forum.
Oostenberg Lodge was the place of work of Zarah Hector, who disappeared from there on the morning of March 15. Her body was found dumped on a farm near Paarl 10 days later.
At the meeting, Dawn Roode, a trauma counsellor at Kuils River SAPS, led a prayer and spoke about crime in the Kuils River community.
Ms Roode spoke about the need for residents to start appreciating each other and loving our neighbour “as life is so short and there is also the need for God in our lives.
“The enemy has for far too long robbed us of our peaceful community and we need to reclaim it back from the hands of the enemy. Our children are being exposed to the ills and evils of society.
“Schools and our kids are being exposed to drugs, gangs, violence and so many negative elements. But it does not stop with our children; it’s adults, professionals and people of all ages who are also caught up in this negative lifestyle,” she told a crowded auditorium where about 80 community members attended the meeting.
“The struggle is real but so is our God; we just need to perservere,” she said, adding, “If we want change we need to start with ourselves and we need to show ourselves and make sacrifices. We came here because we want to make a difference, we want to see change, we want to take our community back from the evils that have crippled our small town community.”
She appealed to all members of the community to play a role in combating crime.
“It starts with ourselves in our homes, in our streets with our neighbours. Charity begins at home. Crime prevention is not a once-off thing, it’s ongoing, it’s constant.”
Mr Julius urged the community to help tackle drug abuse. “We need to start being realistic about what we can do and what is out of our hands.
“We need to work hand in hand with SAPS and start putting safety measures in place and execute them by being consistent.
“Drugs are a major factor in causing many of the criminal activities here. The selling of narcotics is on the rise and we need to tackle this. This is our biggest concern and the root cause of all the evil that has plagued our beautiful Kuils River.”
He told residents to begin recognising and getting to know their neighbours and the challenges they face.
“We need to highlight and inform each other about the problem areas,” he said.
He told Northern News after the meeting: “There was a general strong feeling that we can talk and talk but we need to start putting forward ideas.”
* Hundreds of people attended Ms Hector’s memorial service on Friday April 1. Bruce Theron, a reverend who got to know Ms Hector well after she made an appointment with him six years ago to try to get her life in order, conducted the funeral service of the 33-year-old mother of two at the Ebenezer Congregational Church in Kuils River.
After the service, a relative, who declined to be named, said Ms Hector had ended up in a Sarepta resident’s garage, where she had been hit in the face repeatedly with a hammer.
The relative said the blows killed her and her body was then bundled into the boot of a car and dumped in the Groot Drakenstein area, where it was found on March 24.
Two suspects, Ronaldo van Rooyen and Tafiq Ibrahim, both in their 20s, were arrested for Ms Hector’s murder. They are expected back in the Blue Down’s Magistrate’s Court today, Wednesday April 6.
During Friday’s memorial service, a small box containing Ms Hector’s ashes was placed in the front of the church, along with a framed photograph of Ms Hector and several blue balloons.
Mr Theron said when he heard Hector was missing he feared the worst.
“The killer or killers dumped Zarah’s body like one would dump illegal refuse,” he said.
Maria Lodewyks, who thanked those who had helped the family, read out a letter Ms Hector wrote two weeks before her murder.
“Heavenly father, you alone are merciful. You alone have created me. Humbly I come to you for answers. I’m thankful for being able to read because now I’m able to expose myself to new habits in light of changing my life and self,” Ms Hector wrote.
She wrote she was grateful to her mother who had raised her daughter Kate-Lin, 17.
Kate-Lin read out a heart-breaking letter she had written to her younger brother Noah, 5, to keep as he got older.
“My darling, the death of my mother has me mourning for your loss.”
Kate-Lin said she would at times push her brother in the right direction if he needed it. “Mommy always told me to forgive and I hope one day you won’t be resentful of her death, but rather jovial of the adventures she had and the life she lived,” she told her brother.