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Mitchells Plain Residents concerned on the release of the Station Strangler

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By Daanyaal Matthews

Mitchell’s Plain residents made their voices heard at the Lentegeur Civic Hall yesterday as The Department of Correctional Services hosted a public community engagement session to discuss the parole placement of Norman ‘Avzal’ Simons also known as the notorious ‘Station Strangler’. Simons was convicted in 1995 where he was found guilty of one count of murder and one count kidnapping of 10-year-old Elroy Van Rooyen.

Simons’ pending release has been nothing short of controversial, with many in the Michells Plain community in outrage over his release as they perceive his time to not be equal to the loss of life. Additionally, the Van Rooyen family have declared their disdain for Simons release and have publicly opposed it.

Speaking on VOC Breakfast on Monday, Lentegeur CPF Chairperson, Byron de Villiers, clarified the thoughts of some in the community on the entire affair.

“There is still a whole lot of concerns and somewhat confusion. As to the conditions of parole, and obviously the other cases that are unsolved regarding the station strangler,” stated De Villiers.

One topic of discussion is the trauma faced by community residents, with many relating the fears they once held because of the actions of Simons. De Villiers has clarified these sentiments by mentioning what has been expressed to him.

“It is very true that the fear has been struck back into the community. It’s reliving the fear, its reliving the pain from the families and for those who were around in that time. It does open wounds, and puts fear back into our community,” continued the Lentegeur CPF Chairperson.

One other facet of discussion has been the growing discontent in the community in terms of perception of the justice system. Many have argued that the sentence of Simons is too short while others have argued that legally Simons deserves another chance to prove himself. These points have led to a larger discussion regarding the ethics of the sentence, the punishment of crime, and the growing fear within the Cape Flats that the ‘system’ does not protect the innocent.

“I think for us as a community, the justice system has failed us widely. Simply because we keep pointing the finger at SAPS, and fortunately for me I do see the efforts that Lentegeur SAPS is doing to keep people behind bars, but when the cases go to court that is where our community is being failed. I really think that our justice system needs a look, I still maintain that there should be standardized sentences for certain crimes, no discussion,” ended De Villiers.


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