Slain patroller honoured

The late Ignatius van Rooyen.

Hundreds of neighbourhood watch members from various groups paid their respects to one of their fallen brothers in Milnerton on Monday night.

They filled the parking lot of Paddocks Shopping Centre for what they called an “honour patrol” in memory of Ignatius van Rooyen, 34, who was shot and killed in Freedom Way Montague Gardens, on Friday at 6.45pm.

Ignatius was a member of the Milnerton Ridge Neighbourhood Watch, and he also patrolled for the Montague Gardens-Marconi Beam Improvement District (MMID).

It’s believed that he was not officially on patrol at the time, but according to Tony Pronk, the director for public safety at MMID, Ignatius was “always on patrol”.

He was shot in the chest and died at the scene, according to provincial SAPS spokeswoman Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana.

“Circumstances surrounding this incident are under investigation with no arrests so far,” she said.

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith and Ward 4 councillor Wandisile Ngeyi joined the patrol on Monday.

Mr Smith said he would meet with mayor Dan Plato to discuss offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the neighbourhood watch man’s killer.

Ignatius, who was also known as Ignis, leaves behind a wife, a younger sister and a younger brother and his parents. His brother, Quentin van Rooyen, said Ignatius was godfather two young boys.

Ignatius had been someone who was always smiling and willing to help others and he would try to understand all those he met, like the vagrants he encountered while on patrol, Quentin said.

“That was the kind of guy he is. Very nice and family-orientated. We are a close family, and as the eldest, he would always look out for us. I’m at a loss for words because I didn’t expect we would lose him so soon and in this manner,” he said.

Quentin said that he preferred to remember his brother in happier times. Fighting through the tears, he said he would always remember his brother’s laughter and infectious smile.

“Growing up, he was quite mischievous, just like any other kid. He loved to have fun though. We were born in the Free State, and in the early 2000s, we moved to Zambia, where we stayed for four years. We had an interesting childhood,” he said.

Ignatius had run his own business and had loved his work and his family.

“We are here to celebrate his life though because I know that is what he would have wanted. The turn-out by all these people is very overwhelming and humbling as well. This is a testament to what kind of person he was because he was well liked. We are honoured by the support,” said Quentin.

Fellow patroller Andre Williams told how Ignatius had once bought a bus ticket for a man living under cardboard on Montague Drive and driven him to the bus station so he could be reunited with his family in George.

The man had called the next day, saying he had arrived safely.

Goodwood Neighbourhood Watch chairwoman Leona van Wyk said their work was dangerous, but they did it because they loved their communities.

“We do it because we want to create a better and safe environment for all. We all know that there’s a massive resource issue with SAPS, and all the security companies, CPFs, neighbourhood watches and other volunteer groups assist in fighting the good fight. Seeing the camaraderie and brotherhood tonight certainly motivates us to do more,” she said.

Table View Neighbourhood Watch chairman Grant Lemos said they regarded members of any neighbourhood watch as one of their own.

He urged members to be careful.

“I don’t want this to deter anyone from joining the neighbourhood watches, however. If anything, this should serve as a catalyst to get more people involved so that we can all do more,” he said.

A memorial service will be held for Ignatius at Theo Marais Park tomorrow, Thursday June 27, at 1pm.