Monday, April 23, 2012

Kommetjie father, 53, survives stabbing on beach while walking with his daughter: 6th attack in last few months

Kommetjie father, 53, stabbed on beach while walking with his daughter: 6th attack last few months on remote Cape Peninsula beach. April 23 2012 -- By Ilse Fredericks
Komwatch members and a Table Mountain National Park staffer surveyed the scene of the knife attack where an unidentified Kommetjie father fought for his life when he was attacked with a butcher’s knife while walking with his daughter on Long Beach says his attacker threatened to come back and kill him.

The latest attack, which took place where Long Beach meets Noordhoek Beach, brings the number of muggings in the area over the last few months to at least six.
On Sunday, a day after the attack, a trail of blood was still visible on the sand dunes and a Table Mountain National Park staffer was seen patrolling the area.

There were almost no people on the beach.
The 53-year-old victim, who asked to remain anonymous, said the attacker “was smoking weed” and had greeted them when he and his daughter passed him on the beach.

“He must have followed us and crept up on us while we were walking over a dune.”
The father said the man had a butcher’s knife “of 12 inches long” and had demanded his 18-year-old daughter’s cellphone.
“He held a knife to my daughter’s throat. I said: ‘Let her go and we’ll give it to you.’ “
The attacker then turned his attention to the father.
“I whacked him with a walking stick. He was seriously trying to injure me.”
He said the man threw what looked like a porcelain mug at him.
“I tripped and fell over on the dune. I kicked him hard a few times. I was fighting for my life. He then stabbed at me a few time before stabbing me through my leg.”
His daughter ran and watched from a distance. The mugger followed, took the phone from her and fled.
“If things had gone differently I wouldn’t be here having this conversation with you. But I am not daunted and will go back,” the father told the Cape Argus.
A security guard alerted the police and emergency services.
Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut said the mugger fled with a BlackBerry phone, a ring and R100 in cash but that no arrests have been made.
Creighton Schlebach, a committee member of the neighbourhood watch, Komwatch, said about eight to 10 of their members went to help but the perpetrator got away.
He said there were unconfirmed reported that three other possible accomplices had been in the area.
“We are very concerned about these muggings. We are working together with Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) and others but what we need is someone to throw proper money at the problem. Some cameras would really go a long way.”
Louis Liebenberg, managing director of the non-profit organisation CyberTracker Conservation, said he had asked TMNP last month to place an observation point in the area where the mugging took place.
“I do have a lot of sympathy for the rangers… they are overworked and understaffed.
“Between 2004 and 2007 there was not a single attack that we know of because we had a good system in place with 10 full-time rangers and a team of trackers.
“And that’s what kept the beach safe.”
TMNP spokeswoman Merle Collins said the attack was a concern.
“We have a really good safety plan in place. We have received a lot of compliments from people saying visibility has increased. It is very unfortunate that this incident happened after all that we’ve done.”
Community Safety MEC Dan Plato, who visited Noordhoek beach last month after several muggings, said on Sunday:
“An immediate plan is to see if we can provide the members of the neighbourhood watch with quad bikes. It is difficult to catch them (on foot) even if you can see them running in the distance. Our officials are currently investigating this option.”
He said another consideration would be to place signboards to warn tourists of the dangers.
“People don’t know the area; they don’t know its remoteness.”
Last month he said: “This is not yet a hotspot, and is still a safe beach to walk on. I want to keep it that way. That is why I want to send a strong message to the criminals in this area.” - Cape Argus

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