Amanzimtoti left reeling by rape of 12-year-old boy at Hutchison Park

Amanzimtoti police have confirmed the rape of a 12-year-old child on Sunday, 3 December at Hutchison Park.

It is alleged the parents of the victim were at Amanzimtoti Rugby Club at the time of the rape, according to Toti SAPS spokesman, Captain Charlene van der Spuy.

“The victim, together with his sister, was playing in the area at the tennis courts. When the victim’s sister went to join their parents, he was left behind. He was accosted by two suspects and sexually assaulted,” she said.

A case of sexual assault is being investigated by SAPS. One man was arrested and appeared in Durban court on Monday, 4 December.

Social media was abuzz with reports about the arrest of two car guards in the wake of the alleged rape. However police have confirmed one man was arrested.
Amanzimtoti Sports Centre (ASC) chairman, Craig Chamier said the Hutchison Park-based committee is outraged at the alleged rape. He acknowledged that the community is equally emotional about the incident but urged people to not speculate too wildly and to allow the law to take its course in dealing with the matter.

He said the ASC is built on three pillars – facilities, security and cleanliness. “And as volunteers, we work towards these goals every day,” said Chamier.

Despite the committee’s attempts over several years, efforts to address security at Hutchison Park have been fraught with difficulty. Over the last four years or so, the committee has engaged various Ethekwini roleplayers, including the parks department, parks law enforcement, Metro Police and SAPS in conjunction with Councillor Andre Beetge to work towards a solution to securing the site – with limited success.

He said problem areas and culprits at Hutchison Park had been identified, but a major stumbling block in trying to secure the sports fields is that the area is zoned as public open space. “As such, we can’t really challenge anyone from being there,” said a frustrated Chamier.

Parks law enforcement is non-existent in the park, as they are based at the beaches and have limited resources.

Hutchison Park is a large, sprawling area bordered by the river and Ilanda Wilds, which makes it difficult to secure and fence off. “Be that as it may we as the sporting and larger community have moved forward proactively with security in the park. We appointed Blue Security and the CCPO as our service providers. With their expertise and guidance we have targeted the weakest perceived areas:

* Removing vagrants
* Cutting and cleaning up dirty areas
* Erecting security lighting
* Installing security cameras
* Erecting Clear Vu fencing

This is ongoing and is only limited by finance.”

“Cllr Andre Beetge placed on record recently his frustration with the city’s lack of commitment in providing sports clubs with long-term leases. This has paralysed the sports bodies from moving forward in a meaningful way with development plans, including security,” added Chamier. The sports bodies are forced to operate in a vacuum imposed by the city’s hands-off treatment of the issue, he added.

READ HERE: Durban passes the ball on long-term sports club leases

Chamier and his committee’s frustrations are also building over the lack of inclusion extended to Hutchison Park in terms of the festive season crime planning which is co-ordinated by the police and Metro Police. “It’s all about the beaches and we’re outside of the priority zone.” Another complication is the reason why the car guards frequent the area. “It would be a lot easier if the community simply didn’t provide a reason for them to come down in the first place. People pay them to wash and watch their cars, making it lucrative for them to return.”

“Hutchison Park was left in perpetuity for use by the people of Amanzimtoti. We want people to come down and enjoy the park without fear. We as a community obviously have lots of work still to do to make this an everyday reality.

This incident will only galvanise our resolve to do more. I urge all members of the community frequenting Hutchison Park to save the CCPO emergency number in their phones. The number has been placed on signage around the park. Report any incidents or suspicious people and  actions.”

 

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Michelle Izatt
Managing Editor

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