I Give Up

www.MyPE.co.za: I
give up with the ‘powers that be’, ‘safety and security’ and the NMM
‘Communications’ Department.

On 4 September I received
the following e-mail:

Yesterday afternoon around 17h30 whilst about to exit St Georges Park
with my Slovakian sister-in-law and her two babies in a pram, we were
attacked at knife point by two young Black men. It was extremely
traumatic, but we are fortunate to not have been injured.

What appalls me about the incident, is the fact that there are
absolutely no security guards in or around St Georges Park, which once
upon a time was a beautiful place to stroll around or even have a
picnic, and indeed to take your little ones for some outdoor playtime.
There were only dodgy characters to be seen, and quite honestly I felt
a sense of unease for 90% of the time that we were there. I should have
known better than to put my family at risk like that. We made a fatal
choice of path at the last minute. Just moments before I saw a very
elderly white man walking in the proximity of our attack, and wondered
what his fate would have been if they had attacked him instead.

We would like to know what your forum’s involvement is in combatting
crime around the park. So many women and elderly people walk or jog
around there, but since this ridiculous palisade fencing has been
erected, it poses a danger to anybody entering the park, because there
is little hope of escaping an assailant if you are stressed out and
have to begin to wonder where the exit points are. If I had not had
self defense training, and had I not known how to deal with a knife
wielding attacker, we might have been seriously or fatally wounded. Not
to even think what they might have done to the babies.

Please send me any information you have on trying to get a petition
signed and to create an immediate awareness and alert to all would-be
park users. I think it is critical to expose what is happening and
being allowed to happen in our city parks.

Patsy Laubscher

In this instance, and mindful of the Airtel Champions League T20 cricket
tournament that
was about to commence, I elected to try and be part of the solution and
not of the problem by alerting ‘people in charge’ to Patsy’s concerns
by forwarding Patsy’s e-mail to the Municipal Communications Department
as well as Ward 5 Councillor, Jeremy Davis.

Let’s deal with the easy
report back first:

  • My e-mail to the Communications department remains
    UNANSWERED to this

Let’s now deal with the
people that are actually making an effort:

  • Nictjie from the Ward 5 office let me know that St Georges
    actually falls under Ward 3, Professor Andre Goosen and forwarded
    Patsy’s concern to him.
  • Not content with letting sleeping dogs lie, Nictjie went on
    to stay in
    contact with Patsy as well as seeking a resolution to Patsy’s concern
    by forwarding it to Brigadier Koll and Colonel Roach.
  • A Captain September phoned me from Mount Croix to enquire
    whether the
    matter had been reported and, if not, he was seeking Patsy’s address so
    that he could send a vehicle to take her statement – very efficient of
    the SAPS.
  • I loaded Nictjie with more work by asking if she was aware
    of how long
    it would take for Communications to swing into action and alert the
    politicians to a potential photo opportunity which would allow them to
    mumble their condolences to Patsy and hollowly assure the public that
    the visiting overseas cricketers would be quite safe in St Georges
    Park, Port Elizabeth. Obviously Nictjie is a far better politician than
    I as she refused to speculate on how long it would take for the
    political machinery to swing into action.
  • The latest is that Ward 3 has requested the input of
    Reverend Howard

We wait with bated breath to see if the political machinery will even
bother to act concerned.

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