N2 stonings increase

2011-09-14 00:00

ALTHOUGH the Umgababa bridge on the N2 is encased in mesh to prevent the stoning of passing motorists, criminals are still throwing rocks there, but now from the side of the highway.

Motorists travelling between the South Coast to Durban have been warned to be on the look-out for stone throwers and logs placed on the freeway in the Umgababa area.

Since the start of this month police have received reports from eight motorists that their vehicles had been damaged while driving in the southbound lane.

Police spokesperson Captain Vincent Pandarum said police patrols have been stepped up in the area.

“This area was referred to as the ‘18 kilometre hell-run’ in bygone years, when stoning incidents were rife. The Umkomaas K9 unit has been alerted to these incidents and will police the area on a regular basis,” he said.

In the early 90s the area was notorious for stone-throwing criminals. They would throw boulders and stones from the Umgababa bridge in an attempt to stop motorists to hijack or rob them.

The bridge has since been barricaded with special mesh.

In the recent attacks stones were hurled at windscreens from the side of the road. In one incident a log was placed across the road, but no vehicle hit it.

Pandarum said, “Motorists are cautioned to be vigilant when driving through this area and to contact the Umkomaas police immediately at 039 973 1011 or 10 111 should they witness any suspicious behaviour [such as people loitering on the side of the road] or incidents of stone throwing.”

Pandarum said that although the incidents occurred during the day, motorists should be extra vigilant at night. The area is very dark after sunset and visibility on the sides of the highway is poor.

“We are intent on nipping this problem in the bud to prevent it escalating to the level it had reached in the early nineties. A special task team has been formed to deal specifically with this issue.”

Umkomaas police are investigating cases of malicious injury to property following reports from the eight motorists.

“We are treating this as a serious matter and appeal to the Umgababa community to come forward with information on who the perpetrators are,” Pandarum said.

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