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Slain surfer had Jewish background

  • Surfer
On Election Day, while millions of South Africans went to the polls in the hope of a better South Africa, one man met his death in one of the worst crimes that this country has seen. He was hijacked, shot, and trapped in the back of his own car, which was then set alight.
by TALI FEINBERG | May 16, 2019

The victim, David Wolfromm, had been surfing just before he was hijacked in his Nissan X-Trail. The murder has rocked his small village of Scarborough, the city of Cape Town, and the country as a whole. Some South Africans have called for the death penalty to be reinstated after hearing about the cold-blooded crime. But what many didn’t know is that the 38-year-old had a Jewish background.

“His father is Jewish, and his mother magai’ed (converted), and now lives in Israel,” said Ofer Lemel, an Israeli who has lived in South Africa for 40 years. He has also made his home in the “deep south” of the peninsula. “It is a tiny community, and we all support each other, so I got to know David’s mother when she visited from Israel,” Lemel said.

He said Wolfromm’s mother asked him to organise a minyan (prayer quorum) to say kaddish for her son at the Muizenberg Shul. “She is originally from Muizenberg, so it would be like closing the circle for her. Although her son wasn’t raised with a Jewish identity, he was a very spiritual person.”

Speaking to the SA Jewish Report, the victim’s father, who asked not to be named, said, “I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, ever. It has been a heart-shattering shock.” He said his son was a peaceful person, a father to three children, and a successful businessman, working in the wind-farming industry.

“He took on the children of his girlfriend as his own, and the one child is about to turn four. He was doing very well in his business, which was supported by a company in Germany, and had a master’s degree in renewable energy. What I want to know is why the two suspects, who had been released on bail for a previous hijacking, were allowed to get out and do it again, this time murdering my son?”

Said Harold Kolnick, who also lives in the area, “From observing David when he visited our restaurant, the Whole Earth Café, my daughter said he was a patient and wonderful father to his young children. I have some relatives of his coming to stay at our guest house, Indigo View Cottage, to try and console and spend time with his family.”

Police spokesperson Leon Fortuin told reporters that after hijacking the car and putting Wolfromm in the boot, the suspects picked up two female hitchhikers. Some reports say they knew the women, and were “showing off” the car to them.

The two hitchhikers told officers that they asked to get out of the car when they heard the victim in the boot of the vehicle. A fight broke out in the car, and they hit another motorist.

The driver of the other car told investigators that after the hijacked car had crashed into his, he gave chase until the suspects stopped and got out, pointing guns at him. The hitchhikers escaped but Wolfromm was still trapped in the car. The other driver also left the scene and as he did so, the two suspects allegedly set the car alight.

Investigators have tracked down a 30-year-old suspect, who was found in possession of an illegal firearm, ammunition, and the car keys for the victim’s car. Another suspect remains at large.

Court proceedings regarding the murder began on Tuesday, with the matter being postponed for a bail hearing on 21 May.

Meanwhile, Wolfromm’s family, friends, and community are supporting each other, and holding a number of events to commemorate and celebrate his life, including a surfing gathering at Scarborough beach, and a walk at Cape Point Nature Reserve.


  1. 2 Dolores Donovan 16 May
    Utterly shocking. Deepest sympathies to his family and friends. 
  2. 1 Neil Parker 16 May
    Dear David and family, I am so very sorry! RIP David.


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