When Ian Martincich woke up on Saturday morning, August 6, deciding to try out a new running route, he never dreamt that it would turn him into a crime statistic.
A regular trail runner from Edgemead, he was training for the 80km Peninsula Ultra Fun Run, known as PUFfeR, and chose to run the Ou Wa Pad – Old Wagon Trail – which is part of the route. This dirt road stretches across the mountain from San Michel to the Silvermine Nature Reserve entrance, parallel to Ou Kaapseweg.
Starting from the Noordhoek end, at about 7.45am, he was puffing uphill and about 3km into the run when two knife-wielding men jumped out from behind a huge boulder.
Protecting himself from their knives, he handed over his hydration pack and its contents and then continued running to the entrance gate where he met cyclist Allen Cox who, suspicious of the two men, had taken pictures of them. Mr Martincich recognised them immediately. He said they were both in their early twenties. He opened a case at Kirstenhof police station.
He later posted on Facebook: “Enjoy a tranquil trail run along Old Wagon trail at Silvermine Nature Reserve and get ambushed by two males with knives. Thank the Lord I wasn’t hurt and only possessions stolen, amongst them, though, two irreplaceable items from the Unogwaja Challenge. Lesson learnt, it is just not safe to run on your own or in small numbers. These incidents are happening far too frequently these days (apparently the last three weeks in the exact same spot, thanks, SANParks – Table Mountain National Park). Fellow trail runners and cyclists, be safe out there and stick to big groups. Pepper spray might help, but not when you don’t see your attackers in advance.”
Tokai resident Douglas Hacking said there had been two other muggings over the past two weeks. A male cyclist on Friday or Saturday, July 29, 30 and a female cyclist on Friday July 22, at about 10am, all in the same area.
Merle Collins, spokesperson for SANParks, confirmed two of the attacks.
“I can confirm two reported incidents in Silvermine West, one on Saturday (August 6), a male runner, and one two weeks ago a female cyclist. As far as we are aware no injuries were reported. They were robbed of their belongings. All efforts to try and apprehend the perpetrators are being utilised, including working closely with SAPS,” she said.
Mr Hacking said he had been a regular hiker and swimmer in Silvermine for the past 15 years and had never seen rangers patrolling the area. He would like to see visitors being warned about the muggings at the entrance kiosk.
Asked about this, Ms Collins said they had stepped up patrols this past weekend after the most recent mugging. She was unable to say how many rangers patrolled the area but she stressed they were there and backed up by the SANParks dog unit.
Kirstenhof police spokeswoman Sergeant Deidré Sol-omon said Mr Martincich’s case was still under investigation and the muggers were still at large.
Wynberg police spokeswoman Captain Ntombi Nqunqeka said Silvermine fell outside their jurisdiction. However, she reported that a man had been mugged while jogging near the corner of Brommersvlei and Klaasenbosch roads, in Constantia, on Tuesday August 2.
Two men had jumped out from behind a tree, one of them tripped the jogger from behind and he fell to the ground. The men took his belongings and ran off.