As Hazendal resident Darryn August recovers in hospital after being beaten and thrown out of a moving train, messages of support as well as generous donations have been pouring in for him.
Darryn, 27, boarded the train at Hazendal station on his way to work in Somerset West, on Monday April 25, just before 8am.
According to his brother, Bernard, nine men also boarded the train and started robbing passengers when the train left Firgrove station with only four people on board.
Darryn was seated closest to the door making him the first target. He was robbed of his sling bag, which contained his iPad, ID, train ticket and some cash.
As the robbers approached a pregnant commuter in the corner of the carriage, Darryn stood up and defended the woman. In turn he was stabbed in his head and hit with a crowbar. He was then thrown out of the moving train and landed against a tree causing injury to his spine.
Darryn still had his back pack on his back and used his cellphone, which was in one of the pockets, to call an ambulance and the police. However, no help came and Darryn lost conciousness.
Three hours later a maintenance worker found Darryn laying on the side of the tracks and called the ambulance.
Darryn was taken to Hottentots Holland Hospital in Somerset West and later transferred to Tygerberg Hospital. Last Thursday he underwent an operation after both of his lungs collapsed.
At the moment he has sensation in his lower body but cannot move from his waist down.
When the Athlone News contacted Darryn on Monday morning, he was in a lot of pain and had undergone physiotherapy.
His family are trying their best to support him.
“I was very angry too but I learnt to cope with that and rather be there for Darryn on a daily basis and give him all the support that he needs,” said Bernard.
SAPS spokesperson, Lieutenant Frederick van Wyk said no arrests have been made and the investigation continues.
Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said on Monday that the matter had still not been reported to Metrorail.
“We have requested the Rapid Rail Response Unit to investigate the matter. We stress the importance of reporting all incidents to the police. Underreporting of crime does not help us or the police to secure more resources,” said Ms Scott.
“Police or security cannot be everywhere at once – instead they are posted according to predetermined priority areas. Metrorail’s regional static, mobile and or undercover resources are allocated according to priorities determined at joint weekly meetings between Metrorail Protection Services and the police,” she said.
“Unless communities work with ourselves and the police on sustainable solutions, crime would simply shift from trains and stations to surrounding neighbourhoods.”
Darryn’s cousin Edwin Brooks and friend Graeme Kuys started the Everest for August fund and had hoped to raise R50 000 by Saturday.
On Saturday May 14, Graeme will, in turn, be “Everesting”. He will cycle up the Steenbras viewpoint 36 times in one day to reach 848m, which is the same height as Mount Everest. By Monday evening they had already raised R230 000.
If you would like to donate, visit www.backabuddy.co.za/everest-for-august
* Additional reporting by the Cape Argus