A murder of a man, the kidnapping and murder of a child, a husband and wife shot multiple times, and a bad vehicle accident – Friday the 13th was the beginning of a dark Valentine’s weekend for the tourist municipality of Knysna (pop. 68 000).
Details are thin but this is what happened to the best of my knowledge:
11-year-old, Zama Mani was reported missing by his mother on Friday. On Sunday, his body was discovered after his community apprehended a suspect who led the police to it near the Knysna Golf Course. Unfortunately, child crime is not uncommon in Knysna. The same school Mani attended has the ongoing trial of a vice-principal who is accused of molesting a 12-year-old girl. In 2014, 2 children went missing in Knysna. A 5-year-old was raped 4 months ago.
On Valentine’s Day, in the countryside area called Karatara (pop. 1000), Essie (surname unknown) became their second murder victim in two months. The cases are unrelated as a suspect was apprehended in the previous involving a 68-year-old woman.
In Queen Street, the centre of Knysna, a husband and wife were shot multiple times in their home by robbers.
Adding more drama to Knysna’s weekend was an accident on the N2 by White Bridge. A car and bakkie were involved. 6 people were injured, some trapped. Their present condition is unknown.
Knysna is arguably one of the best holiday destinations in South Africa but, sadly, beneath the surface, it hasn’t escaped South Africa’s unemployment and drug challenges. The crime rate is high. “There were 6575 crimes in Knysna in 2014, the highest in 10 years, up 4.6% since last year and 26.5% higher than it was 5 years ago”
In these tougher times, parents need to not only keep better tabs on their children but get involved in monitoring their community and fighting crime.