A first-hand account from the victims of a mugging on 21 March 2013. This is the first time I am hearing of this, more than 2 months later, demonstrating that crime is ongoing in TMNP but is not being reported to the public. Please spread word of this. And be careful out there. This incident shared via Table Mountain Watch.
My friend and I were mugged at Silvermine East gate on March 21st. I have been encouraged to write a first hand account of what happened to keep people informed. My apologies that it has taken me so long to write.
My friend and I had been bouldering at Topside, and were driving out of the Silvermine East parking lot. We found the parking official (or whatever his position is? ) gone and the boom closed. I didn’t check very carefully and thought we had been locked in. While we were trying to get cell phone signal at the signpost next to the boom, a man came up to us and asked if the gate was locked. We told him it was, and after a short exchange, in which he told us he was “high”, he went back to the car. There were two other guys in the back and a women in the front. A little while later they drove up to us, and two men jumped out the back, with one of them pointing a gun. They told us to kneel down behind the low wall and searched us, and then our car before speeding off. We managed to get the number plate and make of car, and went straight to the Muizenberg police station. Here they could confirm from the number plate that it was a hijacked vehicle and gave a call out to the neighbouring police stations.
Some points from the incident that may be useful. Be suspicious of groups of people loitering in cars. In dealing with the case, there was some confusion before we were told that Silvermine East fell under Kirstenhof’s jurisdiction and we had to go to that police station. This may be helpful to know in the future. However, because firearms were use in the robbery, we should ideally not have moved the car from the scene for the sake of getting finger prints. Later two suspects were apprehended, but I could not positively identify either in an identity parade. When a gun was pointed at me my immediate reaction was to look down so that I was not confrontational. Although I feel that this is the priority it would have been good if (surreptitiously) I could have memorised some unique (a person’s build is pretty easy to replicate in line-up) and unchangeable (ie not haircut, clothes etc) features of the men.
Lastly, just my personal opinion of the incident. I believe this was a relatively unusual incident in that these guys were on a brazen crime spree. We were group number three of four that were robbed by men in the same (previously) hijacked car on the same day. Furthermore, we were not very isolated. Cars were driving past on Ou Kaapse Weg and two groups of hikers walked up to the boom literally seconds after the robbers had left. However, these things happen in South Africa and there are places around Silvermine where there is no cell-phone signal, which could make it a good target for criminals. Finally, the warning signs were there, but I did not react to them as I was really relaxed after a great afternoon climbing.
Source: Climb ZA