Atlantic Seaboard residents have been the recipients of a series of hate letters.
The handwritten letters, placed in letterboxes in homes in Camps Bay, Clifton, Bantry Bay and Sea Point, contain racial slurs and threats of sexual assault and violence.
Bernard Schafer, chairperson of the Camps Bay Community Policing Forum (CPF), says an investigation is underway, with the view to prosecuting the letter writer(s).
“These examples of racist hate mail are very threatening and are extremely graphic and violent in nature, being hand delivered to letterboxes,” he says. “This could have led to mass hysteria and many residents flocking to the local police station to open cases.”
The CPF instead sent an email to residents, stating that there is “no reason at this stage to be overly alarmed as to your personal safety”.
“Whilst we note the violent content of these letters and view them in a serious light, the widespread and inaccurate statements show clearly that no specific or focussed threat is being made towards any one particular individual or resident but rather a shot-gun rant at white residents in general,” CPF members say in the email.
The CPF has sought advice from provincial police and criminal law specialists, Schafer says.
“Whilst parts of these letters would seem to contravene the Firearms Act in that threats are made to shoot and kill with the use of guns, as well as constitute a case for assault, the general opinion is that the main two relevant categories of crime applicable here are defamation and intimidation. Having said that, it is important though that the complainants’ statements contain and cover all aspects of the letter and various types of threats contained therein,” he says.
The CPF has urged residents to open cases at their local police stations under these categories.
The Camps Bay police had not commented at the time of going to print.
“We are taking this matter very seriously, as besides the threats themselves, the impact and upset caused within the community have been severe,” Schafer says.
“We abhor such blatant racism and simply cannot allow such actions to go unchecked and unprosecuted.”
Schafer asks that anyone who receives similar letters contact the CPF and anyone witnessing the perpetrators call the police or CBCSI WatchCon on 021 438 2000.