“Cry the Beloved Overstrand” – so says Executive Mayor Nicolette Botha-Guthrie in response to the horrific shooting incident at the Hawston Camping Site on Sunday, 7 February 2016
“One life lost, is one life too many. The incident at the biker’s rally In Hawston on Sunday past claimed not just two lives, but resulted in two more being injured (including a senior police official). However, the devastation and impact on the tally of family, friends, the community and Overstand at large, is beyond comprehension and the gravity of which will be felt by all concerned for a long, long time.
While the details regarding events preceding and surrounding this vicious attack are still sketchy, what is clear is that the region as a whole is in mourning where the desolation and heartache felt by many is intensely evident.
This is a dark day in the Overstrand, but one that cannot be allowed to be committed to the annals of history as defining who and what we are as a people. Rather, let us pay homage to the victims of this dastardly incident by using it as a platform from which we can collectively employ every possible means to rid ourselves of the gangsterism, poaching, substance abuse, peddling and the associated criminal elements and organisations that promote these illegal activities that have insidiously crept into our area over time.
A comprehensive and coordinated approach in support of the protection services is necessary to effectively stamp out this illicit scourge on our people and stop it from spreading any further than it already has. Let us help our law enforcement officials who, like Colonel Burgess, continue to put their own lives at risk and not take for granted the protection and security they afford us in the execution of their duties. For this reason, more than any, we cannot allow criminals to get away with atrocities such as that perpetrated on the Hawston community on Sunday. In much the same way, we cannot allow our residents and visitors to be held hostage to the deviant actions of those wanting to detract from and stymie the economic growth brought to the vicinity through the hosting of special events such as the Steppies Rally in Hawston.
As disturbing and unsettling as it is, and the fear for life understandably apparent, my appeal to residents and witnesses to this unfortunate event is to come forward with information so that those responsible can be brought to book and face the full might of the law. I urge you to no let silence, and in so doing complicity, become the victor.
Instead, let us find our voices and stand up for the victims of this horrible crime, their families, friends, the Hawston community and indeed the Overstrand. Let us take back our power and redeem the district as one where peace and harmony will prevail in the climate of righteousness and respectability that we once enjoyed. More especially, by speaking up let us effectively put paid to our youth falling prey to the aforementioned ills, and rather afford them a future where they are not reduced to being just another statistic in the country’s over-burgeoning correctional and justice systems.
In closing, my deepest and heartfelt condolences are extended to Colonel Burgess for the loss of her daughter, Randy; as too the friends and family of Mr Rudi Salo whose life was also taken. Further, I pray for the healing and complete recovery of Colonel Burgess and Mr Lynden Julies who were severely wounded in the attack. Lastly, I pray for the day that the beloved Overstrand will be safe and secure once again and will cry no longer.”