Mom killed in backpackers ‘needed a voice’

Candice Robertson was murdered at a guest house in Green Point, allegedly by her boyfriend.

The friend of Green Point mom Candice Robertson who was killed, allegedly by her boyfriend, is hopeful a petition she initiated will help keep the suspect behind bars.

Ms Robertson’s boyfriend Ettiene van der Merwe stands accused of her murder at a Green Point backpackers on Saturday April 30.

At his first appearance at Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Friday May 13, bail was denied and after he appeared again a week later, he was remanded in police custody until his next scheduled appearance, yesterday, Wednesday May 25. He is accused of murdering Mr Robertson at a backpackers in Green Point on April 30.

According to Sea Point police spokesperson Captain Cyril Dicks, it was alleged that the boyfriend, Mr Van der Merwe, who is now a suspect, had been at a guest house when he called on the owner to report that Ms Robertson seemed to have committed suicide in the room.

Upon further investigation by SAPS and medics on the scene, they started doubting that she had committed suicide. “The boyfriend was arrested on the scene as he came back from the shop,” Captain Dicks said.

Soon after her family were informed of her alleged murder, her childhood friend, Karen Kwalie, started a petition to oppose bail for Mr Van der Merwe, and to shed light on what happened to Ms Robertson.

Although bail was denied, the petition is still circulating, and at the time of publication, had 2 129 signatures. “At first, I just hoped to get 1000 signatures that would go to court in the docket, but people are still signing it because people are fed up,” said Ms Kwalie.

“If we could get to 3000, it would be a mini-victory.”

Ms Kwalie, from Milnerton, said she and Ms Robertson had been friends since high school in the 1990s, and had been neighbours.

She said Ms Robertson had been living at the guest house for two months and in the days leading up to her death, Ms Robertson and Mr van der Merwe had been partying and celebrating his new contract for a job.

She said the family found out from police on May 6 – a week after police had found Ms Robertson’s body – that she had died, with no indication of what happened.

“No one knows what happened to her and she needed a voice. We needed to be that voice.”

She said she hoped the petition would help raise awareness about not only the plight of the victims of gender-based violence, but also their families.

Asked what Ms Robertson was like, Ms Kwalie said her friend had been “very artistic”.

“She was creative and she could draw. She was also into photography and had recently started dabbling in it again.

“She was a wild spirit, but very sensitive.”

Ms Robertson leaves behind a daughter, aged 15.

Asked about why it took them a week to contact the family, Captain Dicks said: “The family was informed the same day SAPS found information regarding her family. This was the time delay.

“This investigation is still under way and no further information can be given at this time.”

Atlantic Sun reached out to Ms Robertson’s sister, who was unable to comment by the time this story was published.

To sign the petition, visit and search for Candice Robertson.