The propensity for violence in our community, whether from strangers or people we know, is frightening and disturbing.
Just weeks apart, there have been three horrific incidents in Ndlambe.
Shortly after two separate panga attacks at the Cob Hole picnic spot on the Kowie River, in which unknown men brutally attacked and robbed people fishing there, we heard about a case of domestic violence in which an Alexandria man is alleged to have inflicted grievous bodily harm on a woman he was in a relationship with.
At least in the last case, there has been an arrest and a court appearance. Harm was most certainly done to the 19-year-old victim, as the photos of her injuries show. But there has to be a trial to prove the suspect, Sean Hendricks, is guilty of the crime. The charge is attempted murder, as it should be.
No arrests have been made in the two incidents of assault and robbery at Cob Hole, although it is highly likely the same gang was involved both times, with their preferred weapons being pangas and knopkieries.
Looking at the severity of the wounds inflicted on the victims in those attacks, the charges should also be elevated to attempted murder. Being hacked on the head with a panga could most certainly kill you. In the latter of those two incidents, the wound on Andre Adriaan’s arm was even more severe than the one on his scalp. He required 15 stitches to close it and has lost feeling in some fingers because of nerve damage.
The way the police formulate charges in such cases is a mystery. It would seem best to list all possible charges relating to an incident, and once an arrest is made, to present a thorough list of charges to the public prosecutor for consideration.
But this kind of coherent policing is lacking in SAPS, which is probably why some cases are so poorly investigated. Often it is left up to the prosecutor to determine whether charges should be amended or added to, to properly reflect the crime which took place. And the prosecutor relies on the docket the police have handed over.
We want to see justice done in such cases, and for violent offenders to get the sentences they deserve. This requires good detective work, successful prosecution and the right decision by the magistrate or judge.
Beyond that, the community needs to root out such villains in their midst, to stop these things recurring. Somewhere, someone must know who the attackers at Cob Hole were. They must do the right thing and tell the police.