Mom dies fleeing mugging

Lauren O’Connor-May

The family of a young mother are reeling in the wake of her tragic death.

Angelique Pheiffer was reportedly running from a gun-wielding robber on a bicycle at about 9pm on Friday March 4, when she was hit by a car in Merrydale Avenue.

She was 25, and is survived by three children, who are one, four and seven years old.

Police were unable to confirm the events leading up to Ms Pheiffer’s death but a press release from the police’s Western Cape media centre said: “On Friday March 4, at approximately 10.15pm, Mitchell’s Plain police received a complaint of an accident in Merrydale Avenue, Portland.”

According to the police, when officers arrived on scene, they found Ms Pheiffer’s body lying in the road, “covered with a white sheet”.

“It is alleged that the driver was travelling in the direction of Wespoort Drive, on his way home,” the release said.

Ms Pheiffer had run across the road, the motorist had tried to avoid hitting her but could not stop in time. She was declared dead on the scene by paramedics.

“There has been no arrest at this stage and a case of culpable homicide was opened.”

When the Plainsman contacted the family, Ms Pheiffer’s sister said they did not want to speak to the

media and requested that their privacy be respected as they prepared for the funeral.

The Pheiffers’ neighbour, Savanna Engelbrecht, grew up with “Angie”, saying they went to the same school. According to Ms Engelbrecht, Ms Pheiffer was very popular and always made an effort to greet everyone, even the homeless.

“She was very friendly and nobody disliked her,” Ms Engelbrecht said.

According to a daily newspaper, Ms Pheiffer was on her way home from her boyfriend’s house when she was confronted by two armed robbers, but social media sites say she was confronted by an armed robber on a bicycle. It is unclear where the reports that Ms Pheiffer was being chased by gangsters first originated, but the Plainsman has been unable to confirm this.

Residents in the area are anxious about their safety on Merrydale Avenue.

“Muggings happen there all the time,” Ms Engelbrecht said. “I have been mugged there.”

Another neighbour, Maymoena Bartiss agrees. “I’m very scared of that road,” Ms Bartiss said. “It’s very dangerous. I won’t walk there at night.”

According to Danny Davids, the chairperson of Mitchell’s Plain Neighbourhood Watch, robbers and gangsters are “especially” active on Merrydale Avenue. There is rival gang activity between the HLs (Hard Livings) and Americans,” he said. “Last week, I had to deploy members to Mondale High School because of children being mugged outside the school.”

Ward councillor Eddie Andrews said the lanes along Merrydale were being closed to prevent criminals from using them as quick getaways: “It goes without saying that the lanes in Mitchell’s Plain have become very problematic for our community. It’s our intention, where possible, to close every single problematic lane. These lanes have for too long been used as a thoroughfare for gangsters, as an escape route after a criminal activity has been committed. We are in the process of finalising phase one of the lane closure project,” Mr Andrews said.

“The delay thus far was where residents assumed council would automatically close identified lanes, where essentially those homeowners had to formally submit an application to have the respective lane closed. We again appeal to those residents to visit the sub-council offices if they need clarity on the process.”

When asked how the safety in Merrydale will be addressed during the planned Open Streets campaign event next month (“ ’Plain opens its streets,” Plainsman, February 24), Mr Andrews said: “The event organiser, Open Streets, will be procuring private security.

In addition, the City of Cape Town’s law enforcement, Metro police and traffic departments will also be present. Mitchell’s Plain police and the community police forum will also be consulted as stakeholders. In this regard, there would be adequate security detail at the event.”

Anyone with information about Ms Pheiffer’s death can contact Mitchell’s Plain police at 021 370 1600 or Crime Stop at 0860 010 111.