“To this day, looking back, it was a fight. You win some, you lose some. I lost that one – but I managed to not die,” said Malcolm Esterhuizen outside the Cape Town high court on Thursday after the final day of the murder trial against Blessing Bveni, who has been dubbed “the Table Mountain killer”.
Esterhuizen clashed with Bveni on February 7 2018 when he was walking along a sandy path in Table Mountain National Park near Fish Hoek.
He is part of the neighbourhood watch team who monitor the area and at that time there had been alarming attacks in the area.
Just two weeks earlier, a pilot named Doug Notten was stabbed to death while walking with his wife.
No-one had been arrested for the crime and mountain users were warned of a serial attacker in the area.
Esterhuizen was suddenly knocked over by Bveni and set upon by blows from a screwdriver with a black and yellow handle. Bveni used both hands on the screwdriver as he attempted to plunge the weapon into Esterhuizen’s chest while he lay on the ground.
“I was watching his eyes to see where he would strike next,” said Esterhuizen, who has some training in martial arts. “As he tried to stab me, I would hit his hand away. After a few close attempts, he gave up and stood over me demanding my cellphone and two-way radio.”
Esterhuizen handed over the items and the man fled. He was rushed to hospital, where it was determined he had suffered a punctured lung after receiving multiple stab wounds.
A month later, cyclist Ian McPherson would be stabbed to death by Bveni, a few hundred metres from where Esterhuizen was attacked. This would eventually lead to Bveni’s capture and arrest.
It would take almost three years for Bveni to be sentenced to two life terms plus 33 years for his crimes in the national park over the three-month period of attacks in 2018, which included robbery, assault, attempted murder and two murders.
“Justice has been done – with interest, in this case – and it’s good to see that the justice system is still working well,” said Esterhuizen.
“I think Blessing doesn’t really care about what he has to do to get what he wants and how much hurt, pain and misery he needs to cause in the process.”
Esterhuizen has not stopped hiking and walking in the Table Mountain National Park after his brush with death in 2018.
“I’m not going to let one antisocial person change my lifestyle. There’s a lot of weird people whose actions could change what you want to do, but at my stage in life I just do them. I look over my shoulder a lot more, but you just get on with it.”
Bveni will serve his sentence in the Western Cape.