Enraged driver attacks

2014-07-14 00:00

BUSINESSMAN Ronnie Chetty was left bloodied and bruised after he was attacked in a road rage incident in Pietermaritzburg on Friday evening.

A man armed with an iron bar smashed open the driver’s window of his car and hit him across the face.

Chetty, of Orient Heights, had spent the afternoon playing golf at Maritzburg Golf Club in New England Road, and was driving home when, he says, a young white man, pulled up alongside him on the New England Road bridge.

“He gesticulated for me to open my window, so I did. Then he started swearing at me and said: ‘Coolie, you are drunk’. I was shocked,” he said.

Chetty — who runs Maritzburg Engineering, Letrush Steel and Engineering Supplies and Engineers and Allied Training Services — decided to ignore the man, who was driving a small van, and drove off towards the on-ramp to the N3. His attacker pursued him.

“I first decided to try going off at the Ohrtmann Road ramp, but he was still pursuing me so I decided to go off at the off-ramp at Church Street and Old Greytown Road because it is a busy intersection, but the robots were red so I had to stop. The man got out. He had an iron bar. He smashed the tail light on my car and then smashed the window on the driver’s side. I got the fright of my life.

“He said, ‘Coolie, I am going to kill you.’ I put up my hands to block the blows but he hit me across the face.

“I just don’t understand how someone could do something like this. He was a young man … I am nearly 60. I just want to know why he did it.”

With blood pouring from a wound on his nose, and fearing for his life, Chetty hit the accelerator, sped through the intersection and drove straight to Mountain Rise police station, where his ordeal was compounded when the officers on duty allegedly wouldn’t take down details of the assault.

Chetty said they kept insisting that he needed to go to hospital before they could help him.

“I said to them, ‘A man has attacked me and you want me to go to hospital? What if the man attacks me again?’ They just said that won’t happen. Eventually I phoned my son-in-law, Gavin Pillay, and he went with me to the hospital.”

Chetty was treated at Midlands Medical Centre and then returned to the police station, only to be told that he should report the matter to the Maritzburg Central police station in Jabu Ndlovu (Loop) Street.

He refused to do so and phoned his cousin Mergan Chetty, who represents the DA on the National Council of Provinces in Cape Town, for help.

“Mergan phoned someone, I’m not sure who, and then they took my statement, but why didn’t they just help me? The police are supposed to work for us,” he said.

Asked about the alleged lack of co-operation by the SAPS officers at Mountain Rise, Captain Thulani Zwane, spokesperson for the SAPS, said Chetty’s allegations would be investigated.

He also confirmed that cases of malicious damage to property and assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm are being investigated by the SAPS, but that no arrests had yet been made.

Chetty, meanwhile, has been left wondering why he was targeted. “I’ve thought about it a lot and the only thing I can think is that when I came out of the golf club, there is a bend, and I might have interrupted his driving. But why would he follow me for five kilometres and attack me for that?” he asked.

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