Crime 'out of control': Western Cape MEC after murder of Irishman

09 November 2018 - 14:21 By Nico Gous
Irish national John Curran was murdered on Wednesday in his flat on Buitengracht Street in the Cape Town CBD.
Irish national John Curran was murdered on Wednesday in his flat on Buitengracht Street in the Cape Town CBD.
Image: Facebook

Crime is “out of control” in the Western Cape, according to provincial community safety MEC Alan Winde.

“We have ten murders and ten attempted murders per day in this region of our country [Western Cape]. It is a shocking state of affairs. Crime is a real, massive issue that is facing us.”

In an interview with CapeTalk on Friday morning, Winde and Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schäfer were talking in the wake of the murder of Irish national John Curran, who was stabbed to death in his flat in the Cape Town CBD on Wednesday morning.

Curran was the former education director of Mellon Educate, a non-profit which works with the government to improve the quality of education at under-resourced schools.

Winde said Curran’s murder was “another tragedy” that was “really unacceptable”.

“The inadequate policing. The inadequate [crime] intelligence so that we can be ahead of the game. The lawlessness and the crime levels that are just rising and rising.

“It’s not only about policing. It’s about the judicial system. It’s about the prisons. It’s a complex space.”

Schäfer said Curran’s murder was “extremely sad and a senseless killing”.

According to the latest police crime statistics, there were eight murders and nine attempted murders reported to the Cape Town Central police station in 2017/18.

The Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPNN) said on Thursday it is shocked and in disbelief.

“We are numbed and finding it very hard to process the information. John was predeceased by his son Eoin, who died in a tragic sailing accident in 2010, and is survived by Liz and their children Darragh, Tríona and Donal, their partners Clodagh, Liam and Beck, his six grandchildren and his sisters Dolores and Paula. Our hearts go out to his family, his very wide circle of friends, his colleagues and all who knew him.”

It added: “We are all indebted to him for all his work over many years, all of which was completely voluntary. On a personal level, we will greatly miss his wonderful sense of humour, his infectious laugh and his ability to lighten the most serious topic.”

IPNN president David Ruddy said in an interview with Ireland's RTÉ Radio One that Curran embodied Nelson Mandela’s words: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Ruddy said: “John lived and embodied every piece of that statement.”

Ruddy said Curran gave them safety tips whenever they visited South Africa, but “he was a very laid-back sort of guy and loved life hugely”.

Irish culture, heritage and the Gaeltacht minister Josepha Madigan said Curran will be “sadly missed”.

“His enthusiasm and energy was obvious to all and his legacy in the area of education is a significant one. I am aware that John’s untimely death has come as a great shock to everyone who knew him. I wish the South African police well in their investigation into his passing.”

The Irish ambassador to SA, Liam MacGabhann, said the Irish government was offering consular support, including possibly repatriating Curran’s body.

Dragan Kuruzović, who lives in the block of flats, said in a series of tweets: “Guys, I woke up this morning at like 9 with a woman outside my room SCREAMING, 'Oh my god, my boyfriend is dead,' about 10 times.”

The police have opened a case of murder. No arrests have been made yet.

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