No more killer on the mountain

Zukile Majova

For six months – between October 2017 and March 2018 – tourists, hikers, campers and bird watchers were too scared to access Silvermine Nature Reserve in the Table Mountain National Park.

A serial killer had turned the picturesque hiking trail into his hunting ground.

During this period Blessing Bveni killed Ian McPherson and Douglas Notten, and committed countless crimes including attempted murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

His victims included runners, hikers, cyclists, women and two children.

Malcolm Eesterheizen, David Bucklow, Megan Steel and Damian Steel all visited the beautiful Silvermine Reservoir Trails. But they were all lucky to escape with their lives after violent and brutal encounters with Bveni up on the mountain.

This week Judge Judith Cloete closed this horrific chapter once and for all when she sentenced Bveni to two life sentences and 33 years in jail for at least 10 recorded cases.

Justice Cloete said: “The deceased, Notten and McPherson, were subjected to brutal, frenzied attacks with the clear purpose of making sure they would not survive. 

“Both must have died in agony.

“He thus appears to be a cruel and cold-hearted individual who shows no remorse.”

Prosecutor Advocate Chris Burke said: “As a runner myself, I am happy to have helped to make beautiful Table Mountain a safer place to be on and enjoy.”

The bird watchers paradise straddles the mountain on the Kaapse Weg – with Tokai, Constantia and Westlake on one side, and Noordhoek, and Sun Valley on the other, down towards the Atlantic ocean.

The reputational damage and cost to tourism caused by Bveni’s reign of terror on the Table Mountain National Park is incalculable. But a relentless pursuit of justice by police and SANParks rangers has restored safety on the famous mountain.

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