Whenever one hears the name Welkom, one usually thinks of a city famous for its uniqueness of not having traffic lights but only traffic circles (roundabouts). It is also known for its gold mines and of course the Phakisa Grand Prix Racetrack, with its popular Phakisa New Year’s Beach on the Track event. While it would be extremely untruthful to say that crime is non-existent in the Goldfields, one hardly associates the area with gruesome murders of a seemingly cult-like nature.
My Johannesburg based friends often pull my leg about me being based in the middle of nowhere. My response is to usually agree that I am in the middle, but not the middle of nowhere. I point out to them that I am in the middle of South Africa. From this central location I am only two hours from Johannesburg and yet in the same two hours, I could be scaling the refreshing mountains of Lesotho. I then go on to argue that there is no major retailer found in Joburg that cannot be found here in Welkom, so I am not missing out on much. Then there is the issue of not having traffic nightmares or much of dirty streets in this city. My greatest trump card however, is always my reminder to my friends that here I do not have to worry about being mugged when taking an evening stroll and that I can drive with open car windows, without a care about being hijacked. I can lose my wallet in the street and realistically hope that I will recover it with the contents still intact.
Well, it seems I might have to be on the lookout for another trump card, after this week, South African news headlines screamed about the ghastly murder of twenty-three year-old Michael van Eck and the discovery of his disembodied torso at a Welkom graveyard on Sunday. All this apparently followed a date he had the night before with a Facebook lady friend. As I watched a news report about yesterday’s initial court appearance of a couple found in possession of Van Eck’s body parts at their home: Maartens van der Merwe, 24, and Chane van Heerden, 20, a few thoughts came to my mind. We need to constantly remember and remind others that:
- Socialising with “friends” that are met on social networks should (if at all it should happen) be limited to the social networks. We need to keep a clear distinction between the real world and the cyber world.
- Crime is not limited to a particular race, age group or social class. Never lose your guard just because you think a person does not fit into your pre-conceived idea of what a murderer or other criminal looks like.
On Sunday I will post a tale on this blog, of a foul mouthed South African Facebook criminal who goes by the name of Lazola Zanele Hartland and my futile attempts to get her to desist from her online criminal practice. Keep a look out as well, next week, for a post on a particularly persistent email conman who calls himself Bertin Galliam.