Rent feud led to petrol bombing
YouTube, Twitter posts reveal years-long argument over city properties
was threatening me to sent (sic) his friends along… his words, ‘You don’t know Cape Town.’”
Royston, in turn, posted videos on YouTube about his issues with tenants.
He also posted a video titled “AK47 with Marvin Royston”, which shows a man, apparently him, with an image of a target which appears to be a silhouette of Hitler.
Van de Venn ran the adventure company Great African Outdoors and was a director at Absolut Tours and Safaris, while Royston apparently managed tenants at various properties in Cape Town, and also ran tours.
This week a source close to Van de Venn’s family said Van de Venn and Royston had a volatile history dating back years.
The source said the fighting between the duo had died down, but the two had recently bumped into one another, which had reignited the hostility.
Royston apparently threatened Van de Venn, who had then feared for the safety of his family, especially his youngest daughter, aged 3 months.
The source said on November 9 Van de Venn went to the Cape Town Central Police Station and lodged a complaint against Royston.
This week police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut confirmed to Weekend Argus a case of intimidation was reported that day.
He did not disclose the identities of the complainant and suspect.
The source said the day after the complaint was lodged, Royston and Van de Venn got into an argument near Van de Venn’s home in Maynard Street, Gardens.
Van de Venn then got into his car to return to the police station to again complain about Royston, but the source said Royston had chased him down the road and flung a petrol bomb at the vehicle.
Van de Venn sustained serious burns, while Royston sustained minor injuries.
After a brief time in hospi- tal, Royston was arrested.
He then committed suicide in a police cell.
Various online posts shed light on some of the problems Van de Venn and Royston had with one another.
On Twitter on June 10, 2013, Van de Venn posted the message: “Hey Marvin, don’t you think it’s time to pay your rent for 44 Rose Street, don’t like waiting for my money each and every month.”
Various blog posts and comments on YouTube by Van de Venn also detailed some of what went on.
One of the posts was headed: “Marvin Royston, Cape Town, !! WATCH OUT !! DANGEROUS.”
In a post dated August 2013, Van de Venn said he had begun working with Royston 18 months before.
Van de Venn also said he helped arrange accommodation for about 100 overseas students every year.
“In the beginning everything was quite okay, but unfortunately things escalated quite a bit the last half year, with him throwing students out of his house without reason, threatening students, not paying deposits back (I know there are still at least three clients of mine waiting for their money), and also he also still owes me quite a bit of money, around ZAR 8 500.”
In another post, dated October 2013, Van de Venn said he had been staying at one of the premises Royston was running, in Carl Street, Bo Kaap.
“I have been waiting for over five months since I stayed (there). I still haven’t received my deposit back from Marvin Royston.” Van de Venn said he had repeatedly e-mailed Roys- ton, but received no reply.
“This is disappointing behaviour and Marvin Royston is a defrauder.”
He said Royston threatened to “send some bad people” after him.
A comment, under Van de Venn’s name, made on Youtube two years ago, showed the rental matter was complicated.
Van de Venn said Royston was unlawfully occupying a property of his in the BoKaap.
“(He is) not paying the rent, he has a summons now and faces an eviction. Property owners be aware!!”
On YouTube, Royston posted videos two years ago about his issues with tenants.
In one video, apparently filmed at the Rental Housing Tribunal in Cape Town, Royston can be heard telling another man who works there that there were problems at the Bo-Kaap premises.
“I’ve got a landlord who has changed the locks. All my possessions are still inside… He’s illegally evicted everybody.”
He had offered some alternate accommodation.
Van de Venn also posted a video on YouTube about Royston, but this was not available to view as the YouTube account has been closed.
HANGED: Marvin Royston.
BURNT: Rolf van de Venn.