“These are not the easiest of times, here at the southernmost tip of Africa. Socio-politically and economically there is much for us to be frustrated, angry and despondent about. As an entertainer, my job is to disperse those clouds with light, love and hopefully some laughter… ”
– Terence Bridgett
Back in March of this year, i published a controversial article about crime statistics on the Garden Route, comparing Knysna, George and Plettenberg Bay to one another. The most important observation was that Knysna isn’t the idyllic tourist getaway that Knysna Tourism, a rotten organisation in itself, would have you believe. Factually, Knysna’s crime was 3 times higher than that of George’s a scant 60km away.
I took a lot of flack for that article, as i have for others, but NOT ONE critic presented any proof to the contrary. They were simply in denial: “How dare someone try wobble the wall i’ve built between myself and reality.” The publicly silent masses, however, were in worried agreement as that article became the most shared article in Knysna Keep’s 3-year history.
Any truthful person would admit that crime, fueled by drugs and massive unemployment, has increased in Knysna. I, like many others, do not feel safe at home. And the cops, from polls i’ve run on Knysna Crime Watch, are seen as part of the problem rather than the friend they are suppose to be.
At 2am on Monday morning, Terence Bridgett, a well-known actor who starred in Isidingo and 7de Laan, was brutally attacked in Knysna. His ribs were kicked broken and he was strangled into unconsciousness. He was in Knysna to shoot, ironically (on so many levels), a romantic comedy called ‘Knysna’. As tragic as the attack is, it’s no more horrible than what many have experienced yet, suddenly, the crime is catapulted by celebrity obsession into the nefarious ranks of the Rheenendal bus disaster and the rape and murder of 9-year old Rosaline Philander.
That’s a good thing… maybe not for those that only see Knysna as a holiday escape (willful ignorance will sort them) but definitely for locals who desperately need a spotlight shone on a dark situation needing attention it isn’t getting – problems that aren’t addressed only get bigger.
This is what people are saying on the Knysna-Plett Herald’s website (follow that link for full comments):
- “The people of Knysna lost their faith in the Police, why waste precious time in Community Policing Forum meetings if nothing ever happen? … I am just shocked about the naive people still in Knysna. What will any meeting do to bring down the current crime rate in Knysna, lets be honest and realistic, you can do everything by the book, be safe, be cautious and I can go on and on, the Police must stop wasting time in fruitless meeting upon meeting and go out and be more visible, that is what they are paid for, crime is out there and not in offices! Why don’t we see Police foot beat with the Community, yes that is better than wasting precious time? The Police have a huge problem on hand and they should get their house in order and stop making the the problem of the Community, if you are really a devoted Police Officer you will work extra hours to work on this crime stats. I honestly feel sorry for this actor that had to endure this, but why does the Police advertise on the Radio Stations for help to catch this gentleman’s perpetrator, is this purely because his is somebody important why don’t they reach out to radio stations to help ordinary for the townships that are being attacked on a daily basis? They never respond to these comments because they know they are in the wrong? I state my case, i will not help the Police, I lost my faith in them, I am not naive!!! Get real then I shall support them again, but they have to prove themselves first!! “
- “Only a handful of the public attended the open meeting at the Angling club on Wednesday at which the Community Policing Forum gave feedback and stats on the crime and what can be done about taking our town back. If you dont do something yourself, dont expect anyone else to do anything about your safety. Stand up people and get involved! It’s your town, don’t let the criminals take it over.”
- “Why attend a meeting when corruption is rife?? The stats they give are only what they want you to hear. I know, without a shadow of doubt, that since moving here in 1991 crime has increased. Perhaps you don’t see that as a big deal as “it is happening everywhere”, but that doesn’t swing with me. This was a safe town and you could feel secure. Now, not only has the crime rate increased significantly, but it is also disgusting, violent crime. The police are there to Serve and Protect. Have a good look and tell me this is what they do.”
- “Cud not believe this – really is this what things have come to !! What extremely bad publicity for our town! I was also born here and I cant believe how bad things have become (I was held at gunpoint in my own home about a year and a half ago). Wake up SAP its only a matter of time and they will start breaking into YOUR homes and then u can see what it feels like!!!!”
- “And still we are being told that there is a decrease in incidents – when all around us the incidents are becoming more violent.”
- “Seriously…this is now getting ridiculously our of control.”