Ballito - Youngsters or “wannabe gangsters” dealing on the dark side, thinking they were untouchable, should be warned – they would meet an “early demise”.
This was the warning from private investigator Brad Nathanson, who is investigating the weekend murder of Ballito gym instructor Craig Hall, 21.
Hall, who matriculated from Glenwood High School, was stabbed to death and his body was found at the Old Greenfield Service Station on Saturday after he went missing from his parents’ home last week.
Initially, it was thought that he was killed when a second-hand car deal turned sour, but Nathanson, who is working for the Hall family, confirmed he was looking into allegations that Hall was killed because he was involved in drug dealing.
“Craig was dealing in 2009 and was warned off by a local drug dealer. That’s a fact. We know about that. There are a couple of youngsters around Ballito right now who think they are untouchable. Perhaps now they will catch a wake-up,” Nathanson said.
He was trying to find out who Hall was with on Wednesday night when he left the gym.
“Someone must have seen something. If they can come forward with that kind of information, that will go a million miles to solving this thing.”
CCTV footage shows Hall parking his car in the underground parking garage of the Lockeroom – the gym where he worked as a personal trainer. He went to a filling station across the road. Witnesses claim he got into a white bakkie with a tall Indian man.
His parents, Roselyn Bega and Doug Hall, say their son was buying a car in a private deal. He had already paid a deposit of R50 000. The car was found to be stolen and impounded by the police.
They believe that when Craig went to get the deposit back, he was murdered.
On Monday, his mother said allegations of drug dealing were not true. “Never ever was Craig involved in drugs – not that we knew of. He smoked cigarettes. A lot of his friends take drugs, but he would get so angry about it,” she said. “He used to say it was such a waste of money. He was so anti-drugs… Craig is our son and we will remember him the way he was.”
SAPS spokesman Thulani Zwane confirmed that the case was still under investigation with no arrests. He could not confirm whether drug allegations were being probed.
Linda Naidoo, director of Childline KZN, warned that affluent youngsters had access to expensive drugs, and drug dealing was prevalent in Durban’s wealthier schools. “It’s the trendy thing to do. These kids, on the brink of adulthood, want to celebrate the achievement, and they do so in an extreme way,” she said.
Naidoo said for younger users who progressed to drug peddling, it initially provided a way to keep up with the Joneses. “At any school, there are kids of various economic standards. If you have resources you can compete, and be accepted.”
Cathy Chambers, operational director at the SA Depression and Anxiety Group, said her work with schools confirmed that the major distinction between township and former Model C or private schools was the drugs teenagers used. Cocaine, heroin and prescription drugs were typical at wealthier schools, where the dealing was very subtle.
“It’s normally an older friend or brother or sister who introduces (the child) to it to get them hooked. The entire group of school friends will then use it,” Chambers said.
“A lot of parents probably get a chill down their spine when they hear ‘matric rage’. It’s usually their (child’s) first holiday (alone) with friends, they’re 18, they can drink, and drive. Kids take risks.”
Chambers said that by the time “matric rage” came around – seen by many as a rite of passage – many children had experimented with drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.