Supporters place flowers at the site where the body of Ukrainian tourist Ivan Ivanov was found. A suspect was arrested after he was found with the deceased’s belongings. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - The son of the Ukrainian tourist who was murdered on the Chapman’s Peak hiking trail said he will never visit South Africa - even though his father was planning to bring his family to Cape Town after falling in love with the city.

Ivan Ivanov, 43, was stabbed to death on Saturday while hiking on Chapman’s Peak and his belongings were stolen. Police have arrested one suspect.

The deceased man's son, Gleb Ivanov, said his father was extremely fond of Cape Town and had intentions of bringing the family here one day.

He praised the work that Hout Bay’s Community Policing Forum did to bring the assailant to justice but added that he would never visit South Africa.

The slain father leaves behind three children: Gleb, 20, a 12-year-old daughter, Taisia, and another son, Makar, 3.

An earlier picture of Ivan Ivanov with his family. Picture: Supplied

On Sunday, more than 40 first responders, security personnel and community members gathered at Chapman’s Peak to pay their respects to Ivanov.

The slain man was in town working as a company detective for Bureau Veritas, a company that tests, inspects and certifies products and processes from companies world-wide.

Ivanov had visited South Africa three times and wanted to spend his final weekend in the city doing his favourite activity, hiking. Before he left, he was warned not to climb Chapman’s Peak alone. Ten metres away from the parking lot, Ivanov was stabbed to death and robbed.

Roberto Quintas, Hout Bay’s ward councillor, spoke to the crowd about crime and what its implications were for the area.

“Mr Ivanov’s murder cost not only a family their father and husband, but it has a great opportunity cost to Hout Bay as well. Many of our communities and businesses depend on the visitors that come from near and far. We can't afford for people to start shutting shop because visitors start coming in fewer numbers.”

This message of community accountability and impact was a large part of the service. Attendees prayed for Ivanov’s family and shared their brief experiences with the man, but also expressed their frustration with the violent crime in Hout Bay. While SAPS officials were among the crowd, there were a larger number of neighbourhood watch participants, ADT security guards and Community Crime Prevention (CCP) guards.

In recent years, community crime-prevention groups and private security firms have developed a large presence in Hout Bay. It was one of these groups, CCP, that prevented the escape of one of Ivanov’s suspected attackers.

Passers-by who saw the suspects fleeing used an app called Buzzer to alert CCP. The alert allowed CCP officials to respond to the situation and apprehend a suspect carrying a parcel with Ivanov’s possessions.

While these groups have proved to make a difference in communities, their presence may leave some to wonder where the police are. According to Keri Cross, co-founder of CCP, SAPS is critically under-resourced and overworked.

Cross says that the group has no intention of taking over SAPS’ job but rather acts to fill in gaps and assist on the community level. CCP has the bandwidth to partner with other organisations, introduce new technology for crime prevention and employee security guards to monitor communities.

This is what the group does in Hout Bay. CCP has created a streaming source for 820 individually-owned cameras around the area. The streaming allows them to track suspects as soon as they leave a crime scene and gives them the tools to catch assailants much more quickly. The Buzzer app is a free resource that the organisation provides for Hout Bay residents to call for immediate help. When CCP is alerted this way of a crime, they put numerous help centres into action, alerting people from the SAPS to mental health counsellors and anyone else that can assist.

Ukrainian tourist Ivan Ivanov.

In Table Mountain National Park, volunteers fulfil a similar duty as part of Table Mountain Watch (TMW). The group alerts visitors to the natural area about crime “hot spots” and incidents occurring on the mountain. In recent years, the group has also become a large part of advocacy efforts to push authorities to increase security measure on the mountain.

Andre van Schalkwyk, spokesperson for TMW, has become increasingly concerned with criminal activity in the park. Since the group began in 2006, they have recorded over 400 criminal incidents and five killings.

While Schalkwyk strongly commends the work that rangers and officials are doing on the ground, he’s concerned with the progress of change on a higher level.

“The authorities are nowhere to be seen,” he said of police changes and security implementation in the park. With the state of violent criminal activity in the park, the group feels they must take measures into their own hands by hiring private security guards or carry weapons themselves.

Tourism statistics show that South Africa’s steadily climbing foreign tourism numbers are beginning to plateau, even showing a slight fall from 2017 to last year. Violent incidents such as the Ivanov killing might be having an effect on the number of people choosing to come to South Africa.

Since the incident, though, SANParks has appointed 55 tourism monitors to patrol hot spots in Table Mountain National Park and will be deploying a K9 unit to assist police in apprehending other suspects.

@m_wench

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Cape Argus