Looking back on stories we’ve covered this year, the Covid-19 pandemic certainly rocked our communities, but a pandemic that continues to cripple the Cape Flats with little hope of a “vaccine” is violence and crime – it was a common theme in many of our stories this year.
In February, we reported on the Manenberg Action Group’s allegations of corruption around a housing project in the area.
The group claimed that legitimate beneficiaries of the housing project lost their subsidies because erf numbers were given to other people.
Mayoral committee member for human settlements Malusi Booi denied that, saying that erf numbers were temporary and that subsidies were linked to beneficiaries’ identity numbers.
Gang violence gripped Bonteheuwel again early in March.
The shooting incident on Monday March 2 left a 40-year-old man dead and wounded a 14-year-old boy.
Later that month, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the Covid-19 pandemic a national disaster, and the country was placed under level 5 lockdown from Friday March 27.
Apart from the anxiety and depression experienced by some because of it, clinical psychologist Carin-Lee Masters warned of an associated rise in domestic violence. Spending months in the presence of an abusive partner took a grave emotional toll on the victim, she said.
Despite job losses and other hardships caused by Covid-19, there were also many who reached out to help. The Gift of the Givers were among the first to respond to those in need when they distributed 100 000 food parcels nationwide.
The Alcardo Andrews Foundation in Hanover Park has also been a hive of activity. Volunteers cooked and dished out food for the most vulnerable.
By June, many were discovering new talents while in lockdown, and we featured some of the art produced by our readers.
Our colleague, Lillian Amos, a reporter on the Southern Mail, started painting during this time, and she inspired so many that we asked our readers to share their works of art with us.
The lockdown also inspired some people to start food gardens. The Bonteheuwel Development Forum transformed illegal dumping sites into food gardens. This was their way of responding to Covid19’s threat to food security.
A heartbreaking story was that of Luqmaan Jardien, 3, who was mauled to death by a pit bull at his home in Hanover Park in October..
Luqmaan climbed out of a window on the night of Monday October 26. He was deaf and mute and so are his parents so they did not hear the attack.
However, the boy’s uncle, Dawood Stuart, who also lives in the house, did hear and he ran to help. But he was too late, and Luqmaan died on the way to the hospital.
We also covered the story of 8-month-old Levi Isaacs who died at home from alleged abuse by his parents, aged 31 and 32.
The couple were arrested by Bishop Lavis police after the father took the baby to hospital where the child was declared brain dead. The case was postponed to Friday January 22 next year.
In December, we reported on the arrest of a 15-year-old boy charged with murder after Ruwayda Isaacs, 75, was stabbed more than 100 times with a screwdriver in her Bonteheuwel home on Sunday November 22.
Ms Omar’s son, Maghdien Omar called police after he found his mother’s lifeless body on the floor in her bedroom. Police said there had been no signs of forced entry. Neighbours reported seeing the teen on the roof of Ms Isaacs’s house, and when police questioned the boy he allegedly showed them a piece of her clothing and the suspected murder weapon.
The case was postponed to Wednesday December 23.