Peter Wagenaar’s charred mini cooper which was burnt last year after he fed homeless people in the area Picture: Supplied
Peter Wagenaar’s charred mini cooper which was burnt last year after he fed homeless people in the area Picture: Supplied

Tensions rise in Sea Point as powerful men accused of promoting anti-homeless, anti-poor, sexist sentiments

By Velani Ludidi Time of article published Aug 2, 2021

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Cape Town - Tensions are approaching boiling point in one of Cape Town’s wealthiest suburbs as a group of powerful and wealthy men are accused of promoting anti-homeless, anti-poor and sexist attitudes.

These men include billionaire businessman Rob Hersov, Paul Jacobson and lawyer Gary Trappler. They are accused of abusing courts to intimidate and victimise anyone who tries to stand in their path. Their alleged victims are mostly women who are now fearing for their lives.

The Weekend Argus has learnt that there was an alleged “hit list” circulating, of the people who are deemed to be anti this group’s agenda and are to be “destroyed”.

“Whilst I do not believe that this to be a physical threat against them it is certainly about ruining their reputation, business, families etc,” said a resident in Sea Point.

Thandi Mgwaba, a black woman who lived in the area, had to leave after her car tyres were allegedly slashed by Trappler. Although she lost the case, she still believes justice was not served.

“There was CCTV footage that shows everything that happened. Following the incident, lily flowers were left on my doorstep and I became scared so I left,” she said.

A woman who claims to had also been targeted said this group of men want to make the area exclusive to a single ethnic group.

“If you argue against their stance on social media they threaten to visit you, they weaponise the legal system and use it to intimidate people. Anyone who looks for ways to assist homeless people feels their wrath,” she said.

Jacobson is allegedly being supported by Hersov in his bid to run for ward councillor under the banner of the Freedom Front Plus.

“I have spoken to different political parties and so far the Freedom Front Plus seems to be on the same page as me. I am not anti-poor, I want to assist them but homeless people cannot be allowed to vote in local government otherwise they will be shipped from somewhere to come and cove.

“They do not have a permanent residential address, they can vote on national and provincial elections not local,” said Jacobson.

He said there were people who do not like him, including local councillor Nicola Jowell.

He also admitted to being part of the group and that it includes influential and business people like magistrates, senior counsels, among others.

“We do not tolerate vigilantism and racism on that group.”

Hersov did not give much comment when asked about the allegations.

“Go to Havens and ask who gives the money for the shelter. You have a non-story there,” he said.

Trappler said homeless people in the Atlantic Seaboard should not be fed.

“Residents and ratepayers must not give irresponsibly to vagrants. It makes life comfortable for them and if they are comfortable they will not go to shelters. Vagrants in the Atlantic Seaboard are living good. I am not anti-poor, I am anti-government,” he said.

Jowell said she was aware of a number of individuals in the community who have issued threats against other residents and organisations.

“And a number of people have been taken to court for speaking out against these individuals.

“Although I have not been immune from these comments nor threats, I will not stop the work that I am doing in the ward on behalf of all the residents and up till now have chosen not to be drawn into legal battles despite the defamatory and untrue statements that have been said about me.

“Whilst residents are entitled to their opinions it cannot be that we can tolerate an environment where others are bullied and threatened for expressing theirs,” she said.

ANC leader Cameron Dugmore said: “This is about sexism, racism and brutally anti-poor attitudes. These purveyors of hate will not succeed.”

*This article was removed from our website on Saturday and following consultations on Monday it was decided that it be reinstated.

Weekend Argus

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