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Bredasdorp residents are so shocked by an alleged gang-rape and death in their backyards that some have vowed to not let their children out of their sight.
Crime in the area had increased in recent years, which some residents attributed to a growing abuse of drugs.
Resident Berndette Jantjies, 36, said the community was angry.
“It’s a big shock to the community that something so brutal can happen. My children play outside till 8pm every day, but now I will not allow them to go out alone.
“This area is extremely quiet, never has something like this happened before. It is difficult… you would think it’s safe in a small town like this,” she said.
Another resident, Glenda van der Ratt, said: “I live in fear because everyone here knows each other.
“These murders are taking place under our noses and it’s people close to you that murder.
“This means you could be walking next to a murderer. I think it’s the influence of the drugs in the area that plays a huge role in crime.”
Meanwhile, Cape Agulhas municipality deputy mayor Dirk Jantjies said such a severe incident had never happened in the area.
“This is absolutely shocking,” Jantjies said.
“It is the most severe case of rape probably in the history of this town. I am deeply saddened by this and we will do whatever we can to help the family.”
He also said he would ask police to beef up patrols, especially around areas of concern.
“Our young men and women should please ensure they don’t get into dangerous situations in the early hours and late nights.
“We live in dangerous times where anything is possible. I urge youngsters to be cautious at all times when going out,” Jantjies added.
Bredasdorp police station commander Maree Louw said crime had increased considerably in the past five years.
“Our whole area grew in numbers and as more development was built the crime increased.
“The influence of drugs on youths has also contributed greatly to a number of murders and rape incidents,” Louw said.
She refused to comment when asked if the station had the capacity to cover the growing area.