Dat daar van toeka af kriminele was, selfs onder Britse beheer, is duidelik in ons geskiedenis bewys, maar weet net, dit het niks met die sogenaamde “apartheid” te doen nie. Kriminele is nie net in tronke aangehou nie, maar moes- werk as misdadigers. Erge misdaad was reeds met ons voor 1900. Gedurende 1810-1840 het swartes mekaar aangeval, vrouens van ander stamme gevat en vee, verwys ook na die Mfecane tydperke.
Deur Martinvl – Eie werk, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=71372940
Kriminele in ons tronke vandag, het volgens verskeie opinies hul regte verbeur omdat hul soms sulke erge oortredings soos verkragtings, aanvalle en moorde begaan. Sulke tipes is ‘n bedreiging vir enige gemeenskap, tog verwag die regering van die dag ons moet hulle in luukse tronke onderhou met byvoordele.
Daarmee saam en ongelukkig buit die regering dit uit met 15% VAT op alle misdaadverwante oortredings waaruit inkomstes verkry word. Hoekom steek die regering al sulke inkomste in hulle sakke, hulle verdien dit nie. Nog minder verdien misdadigers ‘n 5 ster lewe in luukse tronke.
Dis tog die regering wat verantwoording moet wees, vir wet en orde. Tans moet ons publiek onsself tot alles waartoe ons kan, onsself verdedig. Hulle is vinnig om blankes of ander wat wettig vuurwapens bekom het te verbied, of selfs van moord aan te kla as hul hulself verdedig. Hoekom neem die regering nie alle onwettige vuurwapens af wat sonder enige bewaring rondgedra en gebruik word? Dis ons as belastingbetalers wat misdadigers in luukse tronke onderhou – vir wat kan daar nie gewerk word nie?
Lang swaar ontwerpte kettings kan gekoppel en gebruik word waar voorkom kan word dat erge misdadigers ontsnap en daar kan ook van verskeie privaat instansies, nie bewaarders, gebruik gemaak word vir toesig. Dit is al in die verlede gedoen. Dis tog wat ons voorgeslagte ook gedoen het – maak dit onaangenaam as moontlik vir terroriste wat uit is om te verkrag of vermoor.
Dan kan daar gemeenskapswerk verrig word. Fisiese harde arbeid het niemand al ooit doodgemaak of vermoor nie. Kriminele en terroriste sit in die tronk weens moord of verkragting op onskuldiges, vir wat moet hulle jammer gekry word oor hul dade. Misdadigers toon geen jammerte of berou oor hul dade nie en sal nie twee keer dink om dit weer te doen nie. Daarom behoort erge kettings gebruik te word, sal dit sommiges beslis nie maklik maak vir ontsnap en indien wel, moet die vuurwapen gebruik word vir ontsnaptes. Spesialis eenhede behoort toesig te hou, wat spesiaal opgelei is in die taak, nie die dienste wat ons tans het, waar almal langs ‘n lessenaar sit en slaap nie.
Hospitale kan beslis verbeter word. In ‘n sekere tydperk in ons geskiedenis, het hul as bandiete bekendgestaan.
Die politieke partye wat so in die terroriste en kriminele opgekruip is, moet maar twee keer dink oor moordenaars – waarom moet ons as belastingbetalers die spul onderhou wat ons verkrag, aanrand of vermoor? Hulle verdien nie die 5 ster behandeling nie, gee dit eerder aan ons pensioenarisse, wat dit verdien om beter te lewe.
Swart op swart aanvalle is nie ongewoon vir eeue nie – die hele Afrika is bewys hiervoor.
Grond wat hul destyds beset het, het ook aan niemand behoort nie. Soms was daar niemandsland en geen herberge of blyplekke in sig nie. Geen bewyse van enige kooptransaksies? Dus, hoe kan iets gesteel word as dit niemandsland was of aan niemand behoort het nie?
Daar is destyds gedurigdeur selfs blanke Boere leiers gevra om te help om vee en vroue terug te kry vanaf ander swart stamme en is “grond wat niemand gebruik het nie, kwansus onderhandel, dat ons voorgeslagte daar kon bly” en gevestig. Heelwat traktate het so die lig gesien.
Een so ‘n pad wat help bou is met bandiete (of misdadigers wat niks sit en doen nie) en ingenieursvernuf is in die Kaap gelee.
Soos motors meer gewild geraak het gedurende die begin van die 1900’s het die regering ‘n plan opgestel om ‘n pad reg rondom die Kaapse Skiereiland te bou. Die plan het onder andere bepaal dat Houtbaai en Noordhoek via ‘n feitlik onmoontlike roete van feitlik loodregte kranse bo die oseaan verbind moes word. Ingenieursvernuf was daar beslis maar dit was ‘n uitdagende projek.
Om dit moontlik te maak het die ingenieurs beplan dat die sagte, pienkerige sedimentêre rots van die Graafwater formasie, wat bo-op die harde laag Kaapse graniet lê, uitgegraaf sal word om die pad te maak. Bo op die Graafwater formasie is die Tafelberg sandsteen laag.
‘n Werksmag van 700 bandiete het met die projek begin vanaf die Houtbaai kant gedurende 1915 en vanaf Noordhoek gedurende 1916.
Die gedeelte vanaf Houtbaai tot by die hoogste punt net onder Chapmanspiek is teen 1919 voltooi. Die res is eers teen 1922 voltooi nadat die pad letterlik uit die loodregte kranse uitgebeitel is. Toe die projek voltooi is, was dit as een van die grootste ingenieursprestasies beskou.
In a letter to the Cape Publicity Association date March 1910, the Commissioner of Public Works remarked that a road between Hout Bay and Noordhoek along the coast was impossible.
He remarked that such a road would present “features of extreme difficulty, there being in one section over a mile of perpendicular cliffs to contend with.” He noted that these cliffs were high and sheer, some with drops of up to a hundred metres. Even while surveying the route, men had to crawl on their hands and feet. This danger and the expected cost made a road impractical.
A few months after the letter was written, Sir Frederick de Waal was appointed Administrator of the Cape. He loved road building and was determined enough to attempt the impossible. He hired an equally determined and thorough man, Charl Marais, a mining surveyor to survey the route.
These cliffs did not deter Marais, who hired a worker to carve footholds across the face and also to hack out ledges on which to place the theodolite. Working by sometimes suspending himself on a rope, he even lost his footing on one occasion and only saved himself from a horrific death by grabbing onto a strategically position protea bush.
Marais discovered that the whole of Chapman’s Peak comprised of horizontal layers of sandstone and shale resting on a dome of granite. This layer of granite was about a third of the mountain face and was largely a flat platform with the softer sedimentary rock above it. Cutting into the workable sediment above would be the most logical approach for Marais.
Sir de Waal raised the required capital; arranged 700 convict labourers and work began from the Hout Bay end in April 1915. Work from the Noordhoek end began in June 1916.
Working with crude machinery by today’s standards and unskilled and often unruly labourers, engineer Robert Glenday painstakingly worked his way along the cliff face with dynamite, picks and shovels. Workers often had to be secured by ropes as they worked the vertical rocks with the sheer drops to the rocky shores. Landslides or rather rock falls were an ever-present danger as indeed they are today.
The 4-kilometre section from Hout Bay to the lookout was opened in 1919. However it took another three years to overcome the even more daunting cliffs beyond there.
Normally when building a road, various sections can be worked at once by establishing work sites, but due to the formation of the route, only two groups could be established, hampering progress somewhat.
The completed Chapman’s Peak was opened to the public in 1922, by Prince Arthur of Connaught who remarked that the attraction of the drive “would more than compensate for nearly being blown out of your car in a southeaster.”
Chapman’s Peak is a dangerous road, not only due to the sharp curves and narrow lanes but also due to the rock falls. Testimony to this is the 22 wrecks, which were removed from the shores and cliffs below during a clean up by helicopter in 1989. In January 2000 the road was closed permanently until an alternate solution could be found as a result of heavy mudslides and rock falls, largely facilitated by ravaging mountain fires and heavy rains prior to that.
This closure had a major impact on the economy of the Peninsula, especially the areas close to the Drive. Hout Bay suffered, as did Noordhoek. Its closure also robbed the tourist of some of the most breathtakingly beautiful scenery available in the Peninsula.
A toll road was opened in December 2003, with state-of-the-art designs to protect the traveller from the persistent rock falls. It is still beset with road closures but fortunately continues to offer the tourist a taste of the awesome beauty available on our doorstep.
The pleasures of the drive far outweigh the perils. The look out point teems with people staring in amazement at the cliffs and rocky shores below. There is also a sentinel at the Hout Bay end of the drive, a large bronze leopard staring across the Bay, a tribute to the many leopard which once frequented the mountains and valleys of this area.
There is also the East Fort Battery built by the British in 1796 to attack enemy ships seeking refuge in the Bay. Nowadays there is a well-signposted path to the battery but legend has it was once only serviced from the sea by a secret stairway from the battery to a cave below. However, no evidence of this has ever been found.
There are also three graves at the Round Table Bungalows further on, two of convicts said to have died of flu in 1918 during the flu epidemic while working on the Drive and the third is of a woman who’s body washed up nearby.
The peak itself was not named after some pioneer or dignitary. It was named after a lowly ships pilot, John Chapman of the British ship, Contest. In 1607, the skipper found himself becalmed in what is now known as Hout Bay and sent Chapman ashore in search of provisions.
Jan van Riebeeck named the bay t’Houten Baietjien yet the mountain retained the name Chapman’s Peak.
Chapman’s Peak is truly one of the most beautiful coastal roads in the World. Take in the sunsets of multi-hued blues and gold and the Sun reflecting off the sea. The mountains and the Sentinel at the one end offer a perfect breathtaking view of the natural beauty of the Cape Peninsula.
Written by Willem de Vries
More or less hundred years back, all people think it was impossible, but good planning and people that tested their own knowledge to build such a road. This road is not the only one. When you look from a far distance, it looks impossible.
A road linking Hout Bay and Noordhoek along the coast was impossible. That was the view of the commissioner of public works in a letter to the Cape Peninsula Publicity Association dated March 1910. Such a road, he insisted, would present “features of extreme difficulty, there being in one section over a mile of perpendicular cliffs to contend with.”
“These cliffs”, he wrote, “drop for some two to three hundred feet sheer into the sea and deep water . . . it would appear that no passage over this portion is practicable, even on foot.” Merely surveying the route had required men “crawling on hands and knees for long distances.”
Sir Frederick de Waal was elected Administrator of the Cape, a man who not only delighted in road building but was bloody minded enough to attempt the seemingly impossible. He hired a mining surveyor, Charl Marais, who employed a worker to chop footholds across the face and to hack out platforms on which to place his theodolite. In some places he was forced to suspend himself from a climbing rope and work like a fly on a wall.
Sir Frederick organised 700 convict labourers and sanctioned the project. Work began from the Hout Bay end in April 1915, and in June the following year from the Noordhoek side. Much credit for the daunting road must go to its engineer, Robert Glenday.
With equipment which today would be considered extremely crude, and with unskilled and often unruly workers, he and his team chipped and blasted their way along the cliff face with dynamite, picks and shovels. Landslides were an ever-present danger, and remain a problem to this day. Some of the rocks that have hurtled down the sheer cliffs weigh more than 4 tons, and there is maybe just a slight 300 mm indentation where a sharp point was the point of impact.”
This road was completed in 1922 and they chiseled their victory message on the rocks, where it will now be preserved forever.