Durban police battle to curb races

2014-02-22 00:00

ETHEKWINI metro police acting spokesperson Superintendent S’bonelo Mchunu said while illegal drag racing was sporadic in the city, their officers were doing all they could to clamp down on the unlawful sport.

“The police cannot be everywhere all the time and these races usually happen at night,” he said.

However, Mchunu said that when racers were apprehended, they faced the full might of the law, being fined or jailed, and their vehicles being confiscated.

Last month, a man was charged with reckless and negligent driving and illegal drag racing.

He had apparently lost control of his vehicle and collided head-on with a bakkie before crashing into another vehicle at the intersection of Umgeni and Alpine roads.

Durban’s racing hot spots include Umgeni Road, Springfield, White City in Phoenix, North Coast Road, Durban North and the Bluff.

Police are deployed in these areas regularly to “disrupt” the races.

Mchunu discouraged spectators, saying they spurred the racers on.

KZN Motor Racing chairperson Kas Moodley said illegal drag racing was a worldwide phenomenon and not unique to South Africa.

With over 1 700 members, KZN Motor Racing had created a platform for fast-car lovers to race in controlled environments with legal drag races at Ithala Isithebe Raceway and Mtubatuba airstrip.

Moodley believed if the city and the authorities provided an alternative venue, drag racing would not take place on public streets.

He lambasted the city for signing a three-year deal for Durban to host the Top Gear Festival, saying the money could be used to build a track for locals.

“These guys are not interested in Top Gear; they don’t want to watch other people race, but want to get behind the wheel themselves.”

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