Crime in Newlands West has spiralled out of control prompting a local resident and lawyer by profession, to pen an open letter to the recently appointed Provincial Police Commissioner, General Khombinkosi Jula, calling for his intervention in the crime-ridden area.

Saber Ahmed Jazbhay’s cry for help to the KZN police commissioner garnered more attention following the shocking murder of 79-year-old Mallcastle Place resident, Shirley James, whose assaulted body was discovered in her garage on Monday.

Shirley James was found murdered in her garage in Newlands West

The cold-blooded killing sent shockwaves through the community after it was alleged that James, a former principal of Collegevale Primary School in Overport, was possibly murdered three days before her body was found.

Police spokesperson, Captain Nqobile Gwala, said, “On 12 August at around 3pm, the body of a 79-year-old woman was found lying in her garage with assault wounds to her head. The victim lived alone in her house.

The date of her death is still to be determined as the deceased’s body showed signs of decomposition. A post-mortem will be conducted to determine the cause of death and the possible date of death. Newlands East SAPS is investigating a case of murder and robbery. No arrests have been made as yet.”

According to media reports, James’s private security company made the horrific discovery of her body when concern grew after a family member requested a check at her Mallcastle Place residence in Steelcastle, Newlands West on Monday, following failed attempts to contact the elderly woman. It is alleged that there was no forced entry but the house appears to have been ransacked. The heinous murder has cast great concern for the Newlands West area, which Jazbhay highlighted when he pointed out the increasing incidents of violent attacks, house robberies and hijackings in his message to the commissioner.

He said,” On Wednesday at 74 Steelcastle Avenue, a senior attorney suffered a traumatic assault and robbery at his home. Last week his son was shot and critically injured in a hijack attempt outside his house. On the eve of Women’s Day, there was a break-in next door at 76. A short while ago, a blue VW Jetta was hijacked in the area. We need urgent visible policing and action to prevent citizens from turning vigilante and taking the law in their own lands. Please protect us or we have to do whatever it takes to protect ourselves.”