Reward offered for information on murder of elderly Cape couple

  • TaliBlochMurders
Almost two years after the brutal murders of elderly Jewish couple Rosalie Bloch and Aubrey Jackson, there are still no answers. The Western Cape South African Police Service (SAPS) is now offering a R100 000 reward for information that could lead to the arrest of the perpetrators. Last March, police offered a R60 000 reward.
by TALI FEINBERG | Feb 06, 2020

Rosalie was 84 and Aubrey 94 at the time of the murders. They were murdered in their Rosebank, Cape Town, home on 5 May 2018.

Speaking to the SA Jewish Report, Rosalie’s son, Shaun Bloch, didn’t want to discuss the increased reward, but said, “We are very concerned that almost two years since their brutal murders, we don’t have answers as to who is responsible. We are a family of academics who have been brought up by our parents with principles of non-violence and a strong sense of social justice. For justice not to prevail in our own parents’ brutal murder affects us deeply.”

During the darkest days of apartheid, Rosalie Bloch sheltered the families of detainees and activists in the lounge of her home in Mowbray, Cape Town. On that morning in May 2018, her body and that of her husband, Aubrey Jackson, were found by Shaun in that same lounge, after they had been tied up and killed in what police have said was a robbery gone wrong. After the tragedy, the African National Congress released a statement condemning the double murder.

Shaun is one of Rosalie’s seven children – she had six sons and a daughter. She and her first husband, Cecil Bloch, divorced decades ago, and she subsequently met Jackson, a widower. The two were together for 30 years.

The Bloch and Jackson families have tried to remain positive about South Africa in spite of the tragedy. “It’s disheartening when you experience first-hand an attack on the aged and defenceless, and you don’t see the perpetrators of this evil, senseless crime being caught to answer for their deeds,” says Bloch.

“It destabilises your sense of security, and faith in humanity and the country’s’ ability to control violence and crime. There was understandably general outrage at the time as South Africans want to see security, control of crime, and the rule of law. However, we still stand by our wish not to see South African polarise, but rather to unite and seek a better South Africa, as my mother and Aubrey always did during their lives, and as they would have wished for.”

It has been a difficult time for Bloch, the youngest son. “With the rest of the family scattered between Johannesburg, the United States, and Sydney, and then myself based in Cape Town, I have had to be on the ‘rock face’ [of the tragedy]. Not only did my wife Suzanne and I discover the bodies, but we have had to assist with the investigation – along with my brother Guy – and be the spokesperson and liaison with the police, family, and press,” he says.

“This has created constant flashbacks for Suzanne and myself, and we have been to counselling to try to get through it. My wife was very pregnant at the time, and we were worried about the health and birth of our child because of the trauma. As much as we are upset that our daughter never got to meet her grandparents, her birth and growth has been a helpful distraction,” he says.

The house where the murders took place holds special significance, and the loss of this place of refuge has been another blow. “We were raised in the Wolmunster [Rosebank] home. It had been in the family for more than 52 years,” says Bloch. In fact, his brother, education expert Graeme Bloch and struggle stalwart Cheryl Carolus had their wedding ceremony at the house.

“The emotional trauma associated with the murders led to a family decision to sell the house as soon as possible, which we did immediately after their death. All the contents of the house (and their holiday home) were donated to Ikamva Labantu (a township community support organisation), and donations in their memory were made to the Black Sash.”

Bloch emphasises that the police have treated this as a priority crime, but says, “We can only hope that this increased and re-publicised reward bears information and added results to assist the investigation and bring whoever is responsible to book.

“My mother was my best friend, the loved and respected matriarch of our family, and a wonderful mentor and friend to my wife,” Shaun says. “In fact, the whole family got on wonderfully with Rosalie and Aubrey in their twilight years. Guy, Graeme, and our families would spend a lot of time with them at their home, or take them out, and thus have very fond lasting memories.”

He says the family as a whole “still experiences emotional distress, but we have had to make a personal decision to move forward with our lives. The three Jackson children all live overseas, and they came here for the scattering of our parents’ ashes and to visit their mother who still lives in Cape Town.

“Graeme is bound to a wheelchair with limited ability to express himself, but his strong and caring wife, Cheryl, makes every effort to attend as many family gatherings as possible for mutual support and strength.”

The family has become closer, and rallied together. “We still have our annual ‘Blochfest’ where we all gather together once a year in Cape Town. Because our family knows that my wife and I were most affected by the discovery of the bodies and our child not being able to meet her grandparents, they have given us special care and shown tremendous love towards our daughter. Our parent’s warmth, strength, and friendliness touched many people, and they have left a strong legacy.”

Bloch says Rosalie and Aubrey were “very aware of their Jewish heritage and community. Their value system showed tolerance and acceptance of others’ views. They also had a strong sense of social justice, which has proven to be a trademark of the Cape Town Jewish community. We thank all in the community for their condolences and ongoing support.”

Colonel André Traut of the SAPS in the Western Cape told the SA Jewish Report, “Every endeavour is being made to apprehend the suspects responsible for the murders of Rosalie Bloch and Aubrey Jackson. However, the finer aspects of our investigation cannot be disclosed.”

  • Anyone with information that can help the investigation can contact the investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Kevin Kok, on 064 352 5493. Alternatively, contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

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