Festive season crime dip in Eastern Cape welcomed

03 January 2020 - 08:02 By Kathryn Kimberley
Litter lined the beachfront from King's Beach all the way to the Summerstrand on New Year’s Day.
Litter lined the beachfront from King's Beach all the way to the Summerstrand on New Year’s Day.
Image: EUGENE COETZEE

A noticeable reduction in crime in the Eastern Cape has been welcomed at the start of 2020.

While more than 100 road deaths had occurred across the province since December 1, fewer crime incidents were reported than in previous years, according to police, while a number of other emergencies were reported.  

Drownings and sea rescue

A surfer drowned in Cape St Francis on Christmas Day, despite efforts by the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) to resuscitate him.

According to spokesperson Craig Lambinon, the NSRI was alerted to a surfer in trouble at Seal Point at 4.20pm.

The NSRI rescue crew, as well as a doctor, ambulance, Kouga municipal lifeguards and the SAPS immediately rushed to the scene.

“On arrival, it was found that a local man, a regular surfer in the area, had washed onto the rocks after experiencing difficulty in the surf,” Lambinon said.

“A group of young surfers had pulled him ashore and attempted to perform CPR.”

The doctor arrived and continued with the rescue efforts, to no avail.

“Sadly, despite extensive efforts to resuscitate him, he was declared dead on the scene,” Lambinon said.

An inquest docket had been opened.

In separate incidents in Port Alfred and Jeffreys Bay, two tourists were rescued when they encountered problems while participating in extreme sports.

At the Bushman’s River near Port Alfred, a 20-year-old holidaymaker from Limpopo  was injured while skiing.

“He was treated secured to a stretcher and brought back downstream aboard our sea rescue craft and transported to hospital, where he is in a stable condition,” Lambinon said.

 In Jeffreys Bay, shortly before 3pm on December 31, the duty crew and a Guardmed ambulance rushed to a waterfall on the Kabeljous River, where a 33-year-old woman, a South African now living in the Netherlands, had sustained an injury.

“The patient was secured onto a stretcher and hiked to a waiting ambulance, where she was transported to hospital in a stable condition.”

In Port Elizabeth, on December 29, an injured  fisherman was assisted off a fishing trawler four nautical miles off the coast of Port Elizabeth by NSRI crew and transported to hospital, where he is in a stable condition.

Beach cleanup

Thousands flocked to the beachfront on New Year’s Day, but the rubbish left behind infuriated the residents of Humewood and Summerstrand.

Nelson Mandela Bay Ward 2 councillor Renaldo Gouws said there had been a lot of drinking in public, open fires and littering on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

He attributed it to a lack of visible policing.

“They allowed people to get away with breaking the bylaws and let the metro and its residents down,” Gouws said.

Gouws, however, commended the beach office and the litter pickers, who he felt did a fantastic job of cleaning up the beachfront.

Municipal spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki disagreed with Gouws, saying he had seen an overall improvement in the behaviour of beach revellers.

“Overall we are happy. There were no major incidents,” Mniki said, adding that this was an indication that people had responded positively to the municipality’s no-alcohol approach on the beaches.

Crime

While there were numerous incidents during the Christmas period, New Year was quieter on the crime front, according to the police.

Motherwell police spokesperson Captain Andre Beetge said he had no major crime incidents to report.

Similarly, in Uitenhage and Humansdorp, Captain Gerda Swart also reported fewer crime incidents than in previous years.

In Port Elizabeth, two men were arrested in connection with the murder of anti-apartheid activist Peter Sample, 62, who was  shot at his home in Zwide on December 24.

A third suspect is still being sought.

Three men had entered Sample’s property in Higa Street, stolen his television and then hijacked a passing vehicle, police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said.

Sample had served time on Robben Island.

Two men, 26 and 28, will appear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court soon.

Police, meanwhile, have arrested two people after a shoot-out at a shop in Greenbushes on December 27, during which a Nitrous Security guard was killed.

The shopkeeper, 21, managed to press the panic button when six armed men entered the shop in Greenbushes Road.

Nitrous Security’s Roderick Erasmus  responded and a shoot-out ensued. One of the suspects was wounded.

The two men were arrested on Thursday  in connection with the robbery and murder.

Naidu said police had received a tipoff at 11pm  on Wednesday about the suspects’ whereabouts.

The two men were subsequently arrested between 1am and 2am on Thursday.

“A 33-year-old suspect was arrested at a house in Kwazakhele.  The suspect had a gunshot wound to his lower abdomen.

“Further information led police to a house in Joe Slovo in KwaDwesi, where  a 38-year-old suspect was arrested.

“A 9mm Vector firearm with the serial number filed off was confiscated.

“A Mazda bakkie suspected to have been used in the commission of the crimes was also seized.”

At 6pm on December 29, an alleged cable thief was arrested in Central by members of the K9 Unit.

It is  alleged that cables worth about R20,000 had been dug up.

According to the police, patrolling K9 members spotted the man, 20, allegedly digging up cables on the M4 highway towards Central.

The man fled but was caught later and will appear in court soon.

Road deaths

Provincial department of transport spokesperson Unathi Binqose said there had been more than 100 fatalities on the Eastern Cape’s roads since December 1.

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