Treatment of the homeless people has sparked tensions in Sea Point. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
Treatment of the homeless people has sparked tensions in Sea Point. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Businessman Rob Hersov breaks silence over alleged Atlantic Seaboard ’hit list’

By Velani Ludidi Time of article published Aug 11, 2021

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Cape Town - Businessman Rob Hersov has broken his silence over the alleged “hit list” that is circulating around the Atlantic Seaboard.

An excerpt from the emailed list, alleged to have been sent by Hersov, read: “And please would you ditch any more kowtowing to the nasty leftists, especially the following ratbags…”

The list then details a number of people who are described as “undeniably nasty”, “low grade leftist punk”, and “weasel”.

Dale Smiedt, the lawyer representing Hersov, said: “The image that you speak of was sent to DA councillor (Nicola) Jowell and DA deputy shadow minister of employment and labour (Michael) Bagraim. The mail goes on to suggest we should focus our energy on unseating the ANC as well as rising up against the EFF. Mr Bagraim responded thanking my client for the mail. Mrs Jowell then responded by saying that she absolutely agrees with Michael (Mr Bagraim). This mail was sent to the two above individuals.”

The list then details a number of people who are described as “undeniably nasty”, “low grade leftist punk”, and “weasel”. Picture: Supplied

Councillor Jowell has been speaking out against alleged bullies who were allegedly targeting people in the area. She has always declined comment on the list but after the Weekend Argus told her about the revelations she said she received a very aggressive message from Hersov on June 29 advising that he would be working on her removal as ward councillor.

“I suggested that we should sit down to discuss as I believe he may have been given some incorrect information. We met the next day with my political head. The meeting started as a difficult one but by the end, we had explained the situation and I understood that Mr Hersov had been better informed and had changed his mind. There were a couple of e-mails sent over the next few days. One of them included a list of people who he had been told are the people working to keep the homeless on the streets and other accusations.”

She continued to say some of these names had already been raised by Hersov at their meeting.

“I was asked to publicly distance myself from the individuals or groups. My e-mail response was to advise who, how and in what context I knew some of the people on the list and how many I had absolutely no contact with. Others I know and some are part of the Social Development Forum that I established with all organisations working on projects to assist the homeless to come off the streets.”

She said the e-mails also noted the concern regarding a coalition of smaller parties taking over the city council and the need to not allow the ANC to increase their foothold in the city.

“The last e-mail received was on June 28. Since then I have received two or three general broadcast messages from Mr Hersov over Facebook but there have been no direct messages. Until the Monday, August 2 after your article.”

Bagraim also confirmed that the email was sent to him but said he disagrees with its contents, “it goes against everything I stand for. I was sent this letter because I am the constituency head which includes the Atlantic Seaboard. We have no relationship whatsoever with Mr Hersov. He is not a resident of the Atlantic Seaboard. I am fully aware of a group of individuals who are apparently against trying to resolve the issue of homelessness.”

He added as an individual, he spent at least the last 35 years trying to ensure that the issue of joblessness is tackled head on.

“Letters such as the nature as the one that I received from Mr Hersov is not only derogatory but defamatory and could even be deemed to be criminal.”

Meanwhile, questions have been raised as to why the prosecution decided to throw out the case of a black woman who had her car tyres slashed in Sea Point in February last year. Lawyers representing the woman have since April requested the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to reopen the case but there has been no response.

A malicious damage to property case against Atlantic Seaboard attorney Gary Trappler was withdrawn before it could be heard at the Cape Town Magistrate’s court due to lack of evidence.

“The matter has been referred to the NPA for reconsideration of the decision to withdraw the charges and my client is awaiting the outcome of their decision,” said lawyer Tim Dunn.

The Weekend Argus has seen the video that shows a man approaching Thandi Magweba’s car at night. According to court papers submitted to the NPA, Thandi believes she saw Trappler walk out to her car which was legally parked opposite Trappler’s residence and which was visible from her living-room window, bend down at first one driverside wheel and then the other. The statement further states that she ran out to confront him and to ask him what he had done.

Trappler allegedly laughed and raised both his middle fingers at her, before entering his home.

According to Thandi’s legal team, it appears that Trappler put forward an explanation to the effect that he went to have a look to see what was wrong with the tyres, which were both against the wall of the property, but yet he did nothing to alert my client, or anyone else, to the fact that her tyres had been slashed.

“This is unusual, considering that Mr Trappler also alleges that he was inspecting them in his role as some form of law enforcer,” reads the papers. Trappler when asked for comment, he said he will not be commenting as the charges were withdrawn.

GOOD Party Secretary-General Brett Herron said, “Yoh! How did he get away with it the first time? It’s so brazen. I don’t know him so I can’t identify him as Trappler but I recall that Thandi and others identified him,” when reacting to the video.

The ANC visited the Sea Point police station on Monday to ask for an explanation on the case and that of Peter Wagenaar’s car that was set alight allegedly by someone who was against them feeding homeless people. Wagenaar received backlash from some residents in the area last year when he ran a feeding scheme for the homeless from the boot of his car. His vehicle was torched in the early hours of May 6.

Last week, The Weekend Argus reported that tensions are boiling in the area over reports of alleged racism, sexism and violence and anti-poor attitudes by a certain group in Sea Point.

Police said there has been no case opened by the people and organisations on the list. “In as far as the alleged ‘hit list’ you refer to, no case has of now been opened with Sea Point police,” said police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa.

After multiple attempts for comment, spokesperson for the NPA Eric Ntabazalila failed to respond to questions sent to him last week, about Thandi’s case.

Weekend Argus

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