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‘Station Strangler released under strict conditions, residents are safe’

Drakenstein Correctional Centre (formerly Victor Verster Prison) between Paarl and Franschhoek. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane /African News Agency (ANA)

Drakenstein Correctional Centre (formerly Victor Verster Prison) between Paarl and Franschhoek. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane /African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 21, 2023


Cape Town - Norman Afzal Simons, the man dubbed the “Station Strangler” and suspected of murdering 22 young boys, has been released from prison under strict conditions.

The 56-year-old was freed on parole on Thursday morning, after serving 28 years in prison.

Officials at the Department of Correctional Services were discreet about the release.

Journalists stood outside the busy Fintrust building hoping to catch a glimpse of the parolee, but were told by employees he had already left.

He was transported at about 7am from Bellville to his cousin’s house in Parow.

Simons was arrested in 1995 after the murder of Elroy van Rooyen, 10, from Strand. The murders prior to this took place between 1985 and 1994.

Simons was identified after an identikit was distributed.

He is now a resident of Parow and will be there for the duration of his parole.

Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Candice van Reenen told TimesLive that Simons was released under strict parole conditions. He will be under house arrest.

“Eight contacts per month, which include four visits by a monitoring official, office visits by the parolee and telephonic contact. The parolee may not leave the magisterial district without permission,” she said.

“(He) cannot change his confirmed address without permission (and) may not engage the media without permission. He is not permitted to use drugs and alcohol. He may not write and publish without permission.

“He will be permitted to seek employment with permission of the community corrections office.”

`Station Strangler’: Norman Afzal Simons. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Asked by the Cape Argus whether Simons, a teacher, could teach again, the Western Cape Education Department’s Bronagh Hammond said: “No.”

Parow councillor Franchesca Walker said she spoke to the department’s officials who informed her of the strict bail conditions.

“Emotions flared up on Tuesday during a meeting with the DCS and the residents. Some people walked out as they were very upset that they were not consulted before a decision was made about his release to the area. Their main concern was that they heard the news of the parolee coming into the area through the media.

“The people wanted to know how safe their children would be, would they be walking to school alone?

“I spoke to the senior official at the correctional services yesterday morning, and was informed that he was released at 7am from the Bellville offices that will be doing the monitoring.”

Walker told the Cape Argus she was informed that he could go to the doctor when he was sick.

“I have requested that when he gets permission, he should be supervised at all times. They are putting that in place. He is under house arrest. He will not be moving freely. Our community can rest assured he will not be roaming the streets; they will not bump into him at the mall, so they are safe. He is still undergoing programmes and the caregiver will then escort him, and then bring him back,” she said.

Walker said the “Station Strangler” was still in jail. “He is incarcerated, but at home, and that is the information I would like to relay to the people who are concerned about the parolee.

“The fear of the people took over because they didn’t understand what the conditions were. The department agreed that the next time there will be a parolee released into the area, they will inform us.”

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Cape Argus