Myself and a few friends did the hike in late December 2017. I too was skeptical after reading the story in the Hogsback local newspaper. I did my research and found out that the incident happened in January 2016. I was reassured by many locals as well as tour operators that this was the first and last incident of its kind and that it had the community in quite a big uproar. Nevertheless, we completed the trail and it was amazing. We didnt even see any other human being for the full 6 days. The huts have been restored and secured. We found all the huts to be in outstanding condition. They were all secured with proper Trellidor bars around windows and doors. Although the doors had Trellidor, only the first nights hut had a key for the door, the rest had no way of actually locking the Trellidor but the actual wooden doors could be locked from the inside. We didnt feel unsafe at all and were assured that rangers as well as SAPS make regular efforts to patrol the area. We were a group of 6 (4 guys and 1 girl).
The hike is tough but truly amazing. Make sure you have enough waterproof gear and a proper rainjacket- we were soaked even though we had proper gear. A decent powerbank is highly recommended in case of emergencies (the huts have Vodacom cellphone reception). I would also recommend staying at Away with the Fairies, or at least making use of their shuttle service to Maden Dam. You can leave your car with them for the duration of the hike. They were very hepful with supplyin a proper map, possible hazards en route ans provided 3 emergency numbers of rangers at their forest stations. They can also extract you if you feel you took on more than you can handle (at a price of R1000 though).
Hope I could be of some help (unless you already did the hike!)