Elderly photographer brutally assaulted at Toti bird park

LOCAL amateur photographer, Hilda Steyn (69) was attacked and beaten by a thief at the Amanzimtoti Bird Sanctuary in Umdoni Road on Saturday, 9 September at 1pm.

Hilda was viciously attacked by a man in his 20s on Saturday afternoon, who demanded money and her cellphone. When she told him she had neither, he proceeded to kick and punch her and then ran off with her two Nikon cameras, escaping through the broken boundary wall on the industrial side.

READ ALSO: Woman held up at knifepoint at bird park (May 25, 2016)

“I’ve been left pink, blue, battered and bruised,” said Hilda. “I possibly have cracks in my jaw and chest. I am heartbroken that this is what the new South Africa has become – a cesspit for the criminals and corrupt.”

Pink, blue, battered and bruised: Hilda Steyn (69) is an amateur photographer who was attacked at the Amanzimtoti Bird Park on Saturday, 9 September. Photo supplied.

 

The bird park is practically Hilda’s second home.

“I have a Facebook page, Bird Park Amanzimtoti and have been visiting the park almost daily for the last few years to take photos. After last year’s attack on a woman who was held up with a knife, I wondered when something like that would happen to me,” she admitted.

Hilda explained that the boundary wall is falling apart and has been for years. She believes this plays a part in providing the criminals with discreet access egress at the park.

READ HERE: Saints launch bird park fencing mission

“I have spoken to the authorities many a time, asking that something be done about the wall,” said Hilda. “There are plenty of staff there in the week, but only one security guard over weekends. eThekwini Parks Department doesn’t seem to have money to fix those walls. With free entry into the park, anybody can go in and out through the main gate, not to mention the missing slats in the boundary wall which provide easy access.”

When attempting to open a police case, the woman behind the counter at the Amanzimtoti SAPS informed Hilda that she must first go to the hospital and receive an injury report and then return to open a case.

“I found this very strange,” she said. “I went to Kingsway Hospital and the doctor there told me it costs R650 to fill in the report, which I left as money was scarce.” Hilda then visited a clinic days later to obtain a report to open a case.

Hilda warns fellow bird park visitors of the risk they take when visiting the venue.

Amanzimtoti SAPS was given an opportunity to comment but none was forthcoming.

If anyone or a local pawn shop is offered a black Nikon P900 and a red Nikon P600 for sale, contact Hilda Steyn on 083-388-3067.

 

READ WHAT WARD COUNCILLOR ANDRE BEETGE HAS TO SAY HERE:

UPDATE: Bird park enthusiast battered by thief

 

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  AUTHOR
Holly Konig
Journalist

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