A SPATE of robberies has business owners and workers in Voortrekker Road, Goodwood, fearing for their lives. Picture: Sisonke Mlamla/Cape Argus.
Cape Town - Gun-wielding robbers are terrorising businesses in Voortrekker Road, Goodwood, with many of them having been robbed more than once and the police seemingly unable to do anything about it.

Several business owners spoke about the nightmare of doing trade in the area and relived their robbery ordeals.

Bharat Kumar, the owner of Liberty Barber Shop, was about to lock up when two men entered, pretending to be customers, and then pointed firearms at him, demanding money.

Kumar said the two had taken his cell phone along with cash from the drawer.

“After the robbery, I fear for my life,” Kumar said.

Just around the corner from Kumar’s barber shop, the adult entertainment shop, Fantasy, suffered a similar fate. Salesperson Yvonne Hoon said they had been robbed five times. “When you work hard for your money, it’s not pleasant when someone threatens you with a gun or a knife and demands your cash and belongings. Unfortunately, this is still happening daily,” Hoon said.

Salman Alvi, the owner of Cell 2 Sell Store, selling cellphones, said that last weekend he had noticed something strange at his shop and informed his co-owner. The back gate stood open and a padlock had gone missing. He was then threatened by three unknown men telling him to hand over his cellphones and money.

Goodwood neighbourhood watch chairperson Leona Van Wyk said various factors contributed to the huge problem of robberies in Goodwood.

She said one factor was the increasing number of clubs in the Voortrekker corridor that were open till the early hours of the morning.

“These clubs attract other activities, such as drugs and prostitution, which also lends itself to robberies,” Van Wyk said.

“A solution is a definite need for more policing and law enforcement, and an added a solution could also be the implementation of a City Improvement District (CID) by the business owners in the Goodwood Voortrekker corridor,” she said.

Goodwood Ratepayers Association chairperson Faizel Petersen said they had reported the issue to the DA councillor for the area, Cecile Janse van Rensburg, but to no avail.

Janse van Rensburg said she was aware that from time to time businesses in the Voortrekker Road Corridor fell victim to robberies.

“Safety and security is ideally a partnership between the community, neighbourhood watch and other relevant community forums, and the different enforcement agencies,” she said.

Janse van Rensburg said the police had a national mandate to serve and to protect 24/7, 365 days a year, while the City of Cape Town’s mandate was to do by-law enforcement.

“As ward councillor I encourage all victims of crime to report to the police so that it can be investigated, the perpetrators apprehended and justice be served. It is important to engage all role-players to establish trends and, of course, if crime is reported to the police it can provide meaningful statistics,” Janse van Rensburg said.

She said this would enable all enforcement agencies to follow an integrated approach to address crime.

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said they would be deploying law enforcement staff to every ward in the city, “and the CBDs will get extra officials”.

Smith said CCTV cameras had been installed in some parts of Voortrekker Road two years ago.

However, he said the City mayor had made available R25 million for CCTV cameras to help curb the spate of criminal activities in the area.

Police spokesperson André Traut said they were aware of “isolated incidents” in Voortrekker Road during recent months.

Traut said frequent crime-combating initiatives had been applied and visible policing had been increased to address the crime in the area, but operational information was not disclosed.


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Cape Argus