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Sea Point arson attack victim speaks: 'CCTV footage shows guy throw petrol bomb'

7 May 2020 8:57 AM
Tags:
Arson
Sea Point
Homeless
arson attack
COVID19
LockdownSA

Peter Wagenaar believes the arson attack on his car is linked to those that opposed him feeding homeless people from his car.

Peter Wagenaar's motor car was petrol bombed and burnt to a shell on Wednesday night while parked on the Sea Point beachfront.

Wagenaar believes the arson attack on his vehicle is linked to a group of Sea Point residents who opposed him feeding homeless people in the area from his car.

He had been told by some residents as well as the South African Police Servies (SAPS) to stop feeding the homeless in the area.

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Refilwe Moloto speaks to him about what happened.

My wife and I decided to look after the homeless in terms of giving them meals.

Peter Wagenaar, Arson attack victim

He says the homeless in the Sea Point area usually search in bins for leftover food, but with lockdown the bins are empty.

There would also be very few other human beings walking around that they could bum off which they would usually do in the ordinary course of life.

Peter Wagenaar, Arson attack victim

We saw someone scratching in the bin a few nights before lockdown and I said to my wife we need to get a permit and help these folk out because there is not going to be any sustenance for them and in my view, they would eventually turn to crime just to put food in their stomachs.

Peter Wagenaar, Arson attack victim

The permit issued to him is an annexure C form 1 in terms of the Disaster Management Act allowing him to perform an essential service of giving people food.

He says he received two permits, the first was issued early in the lockdown by the City of Cape Town.

He says he has been stopped and questioned a few times by law enforcement regarding whether he has the correct paperwork.

Then the head of law enforcement came to see me about three weeks ago and said, you know Peter I really wouldn't mind if you would take this operation up and around the corner, and I said well that is just kicking the can up the road. These folks are local to where we are.

Peter Wagenaar, Arson attack victim

He then received a call on a Friday three weeks ago from the City of Cape Town's Richard Holdstock who had issued him with the original permit, he explains.

Richard said it is with a heavy heart that I have to revoke your permit.

Peter Wagenaar, Arson attack victim

Peter asked for the weekend to put alternative plans in place and contacted an NGO that agreed to help.

I was then issued a new permit by them and since then I have had a permit in place.

Peter Wagenaar, Arson attack victim

He believes most residents are supportive but there is a handful who are very opposed to the work he is doing.

We get a lot of donations from many of the neighbours and a massive amount of support

Peter Wagenaar, Arson attack victim

He says he has also been privy to what he considers to be very derogatory emails of those who are unhappy with the feeding scheme.

The derogatory terms of 'let's get these people off our roads'...and 'let's move them into other areas, it shouldn't be our problem, this is the platinum mile.' And one gentleman had the gall to come and speak to me and...said to me do you know what you are doing to the value of our properties? These properties are worth millions.

Peter Wagenaar, Arson attack victim

The sentiment is as long as it is not happening on our doorstep it is fine...out of sight out of mind.

Peter Wagenaar, Arson attack victim

He describes how not long before the arson attack, a police captain knocked on the door of his apartment.

He went absolutely ballistic with me...he said he had an issue with me feeding the people. I asked what law am I contravening? He then said he is not interested in my permit I am not allowed to create a gathering.

Peter Wagenaar, Arson attack victim

The arson is taking it too far. There has been so much hatred and vitriol on the internet. When I looked out of the window at 3.40 am and saw the car was on fire, I said to my wife, babes, don't get a fright the car is on fire. Someone has gone a little bit too far and please call the fire department while I go downstairs and make sure the other cars are not in danger.

Peter Wagenaar, Arson attack victim

There is a danger of acting with bravado on social media, he says.

There have been a couple of guys on social media hinting at or inciting violence. I have ignored all of it..but now someone has clearly taken this too far.

Peter Wagenaar, Arson attack victim

A nurse who lives in our block across the way at 3.35 am saw a motorbike turning right near our vehicle and saw a flash of light. And that has now been confirmed on CCTV footage. You clearly see two guys on a motorbike, one throws a petrol bomb under the car, jumps back on the bike and drives off.

Peter Wagenaar, Arson attack victim

Listen to what Peter has to say below:


7 May 2020 8:57 AM
Tags:
Arson
Sea Point
Homeless
arson attack
COVID19
LockdownSA

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