Angry Richwood, Edgemead and Bothasig residents have taken it upon themselves to clear the overgrown bush near Sylvia Street after a 28-year-old woman was stabbed to death there, at the weekend.
The dead woman has been identified as Suritha Alting.
She died from multiple stab wounds after being robbed of her cellphone in the early hours of Saturday November 12, according to Bothasig police spokesman Warrant Officer Jacques Mostert.
SAPS, Law Enforcement and Metro Police had been monitoring the area for a while as it was a hot spot for robberies, he said.
“This area is used for people running across from Dunoon and then running back again,” he said.
Anyone with information that can assist the police’s murder investigation is asked to call Sergeant Jonathan Kriel at 021 558 3688.
Ms Alting was a resident of the De Zicht estate in the suburb of Richwood.
Her family said they did not wish to speak to the media.
The mayor’s mother, Janette Hill-Lewis, of Edgemead, joined scores of residents as they used chainsaws, axes and ropes to clear invasive Port Jackson trees from the stretch of land along the N7 where Ms Alting had been attacked just hours earlier.
Residents said criminals had been ambushing people from the “neglected spot” for a while.
Community activist Brett Steensma said he had warned residents and civics that the overgrown bush was a hazard.
“This area has been a hot spot for a long time, with robbing and stabbing incidents taking place there, almost every week,” he said.
He encouraged residents to continue clearing the area until a solution was found.
Residents had called for a wall to be built on the land and a fence leading to the De Zicht estate, he said.
Ward 5 councillor Miquette Temlett, who was among the crowd clearing the bush on Saturday, said residents had told her the area was high risk after she became councillor in a by-election last month and she had alerted SAPS, Law Enforcement and neighbourhood watches.
Ms Temlett said she had assisted the victim’s husband with counselling and she was trying to establish who owned the land.
“It is devastating that an innocent person has lost their life there. We are doing everything in our power to have this horrific incident be the last of its kind.”
Bothasig Ratepayers’ Association chairman Derek Serra said they wanted to get civics in Dunoon and surrounds to work together to tackle crime and other issues affecting residents.
A De Zicht Neighbourhood Watch member, who did not want to be named as he feared for his safety, said he had been watching the Sylvia Street area and it had been a problem for about a year.
“I have noticed that this specific street and the bushy area is a hideout spot for criminals who are preying on people who use this street to get to the N7 by foot and also are the perpetrators of attempted hijackings in the area,” he said.
Rocks were thrown into the road along the N7 and broken-down vehicles were being targeted by men hiding in the bush, he said.
“This group is becoming bolder and more brazen in what they do to people and vehicles travelling along the N7.”
Incidents had been reported to the police and he had asked the City to post signage alerting motorists that it was a high risk area, he said.
He advised residents to stay away from the street, even though most of the bushes had been cleared.
Ms Alting’s friend, Tracy Bell, said she had been shocked to see posts about her friend’s death on social media.
“She did not deserve to die in this manner; in fact, nobody does. I hope her attacker will be found and justice served. She will be remembered for her friendliness and adventurous spirit,” said Ms Bell.
A memorial service will be held in her honour tonight, Wednesday, November 16, at 7pm, on field along Sylvia Street. Residents are asked to bring a candle and flowers.