The violent attack and robbery of trainer Eric Sands at the Milnerton Training Centre was an indictment of the rampant crimewave sweeping over not just the City of Cape Town but the entire country, Phumelela CEO John Stuart said on Wednesday.
He commented following the attack on Sands last week, during which the 62-year-old trainer was assaulted and robbed by four assailants.
“I don’t think anyone can really imagine how traumatic an ordeal Eric went through,” said Stuart. “One’s workplace should be a safe haven, not a place where you are literally forced to fight for survival.
“But, unfortunately, we live in a country where crime has seemingly become part of everyday life and we are not immune against it.
“We are all shocked at the events of last week Wednesday and I want to assure Eric that he can count on everyone at Phumelela for support during this traumatic time.”
Stuart added that Phumelela will do everything in its power to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice. He also reiterated that all security protocols must be strictly adhered to at all times.
Dean Diedericks, General Manager – Racing at Kenilworth Racing, said the attack on Sands happened despite additional security guards being deployed after a meeting at the beginning of the month with various role-players relating to security at the Milnerton Training Centre.
“An additional security guard has been taken on for both day and night shift,” said Diedericks.
“There are thus five guards deployed during the day shift and six guards for the night shift. In addition, more focus will be placed on the T Blocks with two guards patrolling on the track side and a further two guards patrolling the Koeberg Road side.
“It is a difficult area to secure as each yard has an individual entrance and it is a stretch that is approximately 800m long.”
Diedericks also urged all the trainers to be vigilant and to ensure their yards are secure at all times with security gates locked.
“The incident that transpired is most regrettable. I engaged with Mr Sands and he admitted there was little that anyone could do under these circumstances,” said Diedericks.
It has since become known that Port Elizabeth-based assistant trainer Michelle Turner was also assaulted in the stables at Milnerton by a groom who was in the employ of trainer Tobie Spies.
According to reports the groom was intoxicated at the time and Kenilworth Racing Security responded quickly and provided assistance to Turner throughout her stay at Milnerton. Turner managed to escape unharmed.
The groom in question has been on the run since and it has emerged that he is a wanted criminal. – Phumelela