One becomes two, two becomes four, four becomes 1 000.
The power of social media is unimaginable.
After Table View’s Lona Marais (47) was “attacked and assaulted” by a 4×4 driver last week Monday, her husband posted a heartfelt plea on an internet forum.
“If anybody in the Blouberg/West Beach/Table View area knows of a middle aged white male, overweight, with a newish silver double cab 4×4 without number plates, please let me know. If the identified person is the person that attacked and assaulted my wife. I will pay a R50 000 reward no questions asked,” he wrote.
The message was posted on various other forums and soon the “hunt” for the driver was on.
The suspect handed himself in at the police station when he realised the uproar his actions caused.
Since then most media houses have reported extensively on the incident.
It has come to light that Marais and a friend were on a training ride on Perlemoen Street in Bloubergstrand that morning when the suspect skipped a stop sign while talking on his cellphone and almost collided into her.
Marais shouted at him and then he allegedly rolled down his window and started insulting her.
Soon after he got out of his vehicle, spat in her face, punched her arms, twisted one behind her back and tried to force her into oncoming traffic.
“Luckily all cars stopped and people tried to intervene,” said the husband. “But everybody was too scared to approach this guy as he was screaming he would kill all cyclists and everybody else.”
The suspect will appear in court at the end of this month, but the manner in which public pressure resulted in the man turning himself over to the police is noteworthy.
“The benefits of social media cannot be underestimated,” says Table View Neighbourhood Watch’s (TVNW) Gemma Redelingshuys.
This neighbourhood watch has a blossoming Facebook page with thousands of members.
Almost daily someone will report an incident on the page and within minutes people will “be on the lookout”.
Table View Police spokesperson Lt Elizabeth Munro agrees that social media is a “wonderful tool”, but she adds that it presents a new challenge as well – regulation.
“I’m very happy with TVNW’s page because Gemma usually phones me and verifies an incident before it is posted,” she explains.
“People like to add ‘tails’ to stories and their opinions could turn something positive into something negative, so one should be careful,” she explains.
 ***DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE AND PHOTO WERE PUBLISHED IN TYGERBURGER, A CAPE TOWN BASED MEDIA24 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER. NEITHER MAY BE DUPLICATED WITHOUT ACCREDITING THE SOURCE – TYGERBURGER, MEDIA24.***
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