Stander escapes Mthatha mob attack

2012-06-04 00:00

SOUTH Africa’s medal hopeful in the London Olympics Burry Stander had a near escape in Mthatha over the weekend when he was caught in the middle of a mob attack.

The former Under 23 world mountain biking champion and his newly-wed wife, Cherise, were returning from their honeymoon in Grahams­town when they were almost hijacked in standstill traffic.

Stander said: “It’s the first time I have ever experienced something like that so I really don’t know what it was.

“There were taxis going across the road. There were people on the side of the road and it looked like tyres were set alight.”

Stander said that they were stuck in traffic for over 30 minutes. “All off a sudden this group of men came towards our car on the left hand-side and tried to open our doors.”

He said the men were banging on the windows demanding that they open the vehicle. “Then a few of them came onto my side carrying rocks. It was absolutely terrifying.

“There was no way that I was going to get out of the vehicle. I tried to keep calm and spotted a gap between a truck and two cars.”

Stander squeezed his way through the two lanes of vehicles, scratching them on the way. “I don’t know who those drivers were. One had a GP registration. If they contact me then I am more than happy to have my insurance talk to them.

“We were on honeymoon at a nature reserve and had a wonderful time. We have such a beautiful country. It’s so sad that incidents like these cast negativity on such wonderful experiences,” he added.

Stander said he had travelled to the Eastern Cape on many occasions.

“I used to love that route. After this experience I know I will never be able to ride that route again. It has really shaken us. We are just so grateful to have come out of it untouched.”

Mthatha police spokesperson Colonel Michael Fatella said: “There was a mob of people who were searching for suspected criminals and caused a bit of disruption. However, we have no reports of burning tyres.

“The mob killed the man. We are still looking for the killers.”


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