2007-11-29 : Police see bloody festive season

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2007-11-29 : Police see bloody festive season

Postby GOSA » Tue, 2007-12-11 07:41

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1 ... 315C792980

Police see bloody festive season

November 29 2007 at 01:31PM

By Di Caelers and Candice Bailey

Groote Schuur Hospital's trauma unit treats up to 100 gunshot victims
a month - with even perpetrators of less serious crimes now use
extreme violence, says the unit's head, Dr Andy Nicol.

And for every one gunshot victim the unit treats, two or three go
straight to the mortuary, he told the Cape Argus in an interview on

Gunshot victims of gang violence on the Cape Flats were common, but
this "total lack of value for human life" had spread significantly.

One area that he singled out for concern was violent attacks in
robberies targeting banks and ATMs.

Police are gearing up to handle a likely increase in these crimes
during the festive season.

Nicol said that in the past two weeks, he had treated one man who had
been stabbed six times after withdrawing cash from an ATM and a second
who had been shot four times by men who followed him to his workplace
from the bank where he had withdrawn a large sum.

"It's moved on significantly even from the time when someone might
threaten you with a gun or knife and demand you hand over the cash.

"Now it seems they'll stab or shoot you anyway. Why does someone need
to be shot four times?"

He was raising the alarm to warn people that they needed to exercise
extreme care, especially when withdrawing money from banks.

The man who was shot four times was lucky to escape with his life
after he was attacked last week by several men who apparently followed
him back to work from a bank near the CBD.

Interviewed by the Cape Argus, the victim agreed at first to be
identified, but later withdrew permission, fearing that he might be
putting his life in danger.

"I was getting out of my car at work when I heard the screech of
brakes. They were shouting 'Daar's hy, daar's hy!' (There he is, there
he is!)" the man said.

"There were definitely three men, and maybe four. They pistol-whipped
me and I fell to the pavement with them shouting, "Waar's dit, waar's
dit?" (Where is it? Where is it?)" the man recalled.

With two bullets stuck in the bones of his pelvis, the man said, he
had been shocked and traumatised.

"I felt the first shot enter my stomach area, then another of the guys
put the gun to my lower back and shot me a second time.

"If they'd just held the gun to my head and asked for the money I
would have handed it over immediately, but they never gave me a
chance," the man said.

He was stabilised by paramedics at the scene and would make a full
physical recovery, according to Nicol.

Last week he had operated on an Atlantis man who had been stabbed six
times after he withdrew cash at an ATM.

"They didn't just stab him, they stabbed him six times - in his face,
in his throat, in his chest.

"The knife severed the artery in his shoulder and he suffered a major
bleed," Nicol said.

A month ago he had treated a third person attacked at an ATM and a
surgeon at Groote Schuur had been robbed at gunpoint after withdrawing
money from a Rondebosch bank.

Nicol said the gunshot wounds - on average three a day - treated in
his trauma unit were only a fraction of the total number treated daily
at hospitals across the Peninsula.

"There is no doubt that the level of violence in inter-personal
attacks is on the increase significantly," he said.

Michael Broughton of the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa
acknowledged that crime at ATMs had reached a disconcertingly high

He warned that these attacks and attacks on people followed from banks
were definitely "cause for concern".

"In the Western Cape, the numbers are in excess of 100 in most months
of the year," Broughton said.

Police spokesperson Inspector Bernadine Steyn underlined the concern
and said police feared these attacks might increase during the festive

The issue, she said, was being addressed in the police operational plan.

Broughton urged people to take every precaution possible during the
coming spending splurge.

"Take extra special care and look at alternative routes when drawing
large amounts of cash," he advised.

o This article was originally published on page 1 of Cape Argus on November 29, 2007
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