Murder in a Lydenburg parking lot makes SA’s crime rate very real

By Alec Hogg

I was raised in Newcastle, then a really small town in the old Natal province. As happened back then, you grew up with the same kids, spending lots of time together in the classroom, sports fields and socially.

Among my pals was a gangly, ginger fellow called Rick Lovelock, who features in many of my old school day group photos. We were in the same class and played in the same cricket team throughout High School. Rick was a rarity in our vintage. He decided to stay on in the old town only moving recently to go farming in Lydenburg.

Lydenburg’s Steelburger news website reported on Friday that Rick had been beaten to death in broad daylight outside the local Shoprite. His murderer’s shopping trolley had apparently scratched my old pal’s car. There were angry words, Rick was spat on and then hit over the head with a crate. He died where he fell. His assailant fled the scene and hadn’t been apprehended when the report was written.

South Africa’s horrific crime stats suddenly become very real when something like this happens to a person you know. A former bank manager, Rick is at the stage of his life where he should be looking forward to rocking grandkids on his knee. Not lying dead in a parking lot. These sure are challenging times. Breathe.

  • An earlier version said Lovelock had died in Newcastle. We apologise for the error.