Concerns about crime in Garden Route district after George murder


The Garden Route District Municipality condemned the latest murder in the district and said that several steps had been taken in the past few months to try to secure communities.

The municipality said it condemned all forms of crime and expressed its concern about the violent murders that continue to take place in the region and the rest of the country.

RNews earlier reported that a 37-year-old man, Ruan Hechter, was murdered on Sunday evening on a farm at Saasveld, near George in the Western Cape.

Lt. Col. Malcolm Pojie, police spokesperson, says two suspects wearing balaclavas – armed with a firearm and a knife – entered the house at 10.10pm on Sunday, shortly after load shedding kicked in. They apparently assaulted a woman in her room and then also ransacked the room of the victim’s parents-in-law, respectively 72 and 61 years old.

The victim entered the room, a struggle ensued and the armed attackers shot the man dead, says Pojie.

Memory Booysen, mayor of the Garden Route District Municipality, said several George residents have died in violent crime in the past six months.

“Zimkhitha Ntshisela was stabbed to death at Nelson Mandela University’s campus in George in June, while Juwayne Domingo was murdered in Pacaltsdorp in May. Karen Fleming was killed by her husband in Bodorp in April, and Lihle Tshaka and Welele Mbudede were killed in separate incidents in March.”

Booysen also referred to several other incidents, including Almay Hurling who was murdered in Oudtshoorn in April. “Kirsty James was murdered at her workplace in Mossel Bay in 2022 and Heila Kilian was murdered on her farm near Stilbaai in 2021.”

According to the police, between October and December last year, 7,555 murders were reported in South Africa. This is equivalent to 82 murders every day and an increase compared to the 74 per day in the corresponding period the previous year.

“I strongly condemn these senseless acts and call on the South African Police Service (SAPS) to ensure that the full force of the law is brought to bear on the perpetrators.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the bereaved families, friends and colleagues of all those killed.”

According to Booysen, in the past few months the municipality has coordinated numerous local community safety forums throughout the district, with the exception of Knysna which has yet to submit a safety plan.

“These safety forums serve as platforms for municipalities to access funding for effective crime prevention initiatives. The development of security plans is essential as they serve as comprehensive guidelines for our towns to proactively combat crime.

“By prioritizing community safety, we aim to create an environment where individuals can thrive and realize their full potential, free from the fear of becoming victims of crime,” says Booysen.

Booysen says that in addition to focusing on security plans, the municipality also remains committed to improving the work carried out by neighborhood guards and farm guards.

“We donated surveillance cameras and various resources to active community groups in George, Mossel Bay, Oudtshoorn and Knysna to strengthen efforts to secure communities. We encourage communities to join their respective neighborhood watches whose details can be obtained by contacting local police stations.

“GRDM stands firm in its commitment to fighting crime and ensuring the safety and well-being of our residents,” says Booysen.

“We will continue to work with law enforcement agencies, community organizations and local residents to create a safe environment for all.”