City curbs rock-throwing incidents

2018-03-13 06:00
PHOTO: nosipho mkhizeeThekwini Municipality security guard Khangelani Mabhulwini patrols the Candella Bridge.

PHOTO: nosipho mkhizeeThekwini Municipality security guard Khangelani Mabhulwini patrols the Candella Bridge.

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AFTER a spate of rock-throwing incidents on KwaZulu-Natal highways, the eThekwini Municipality law-enforcement authorities have deployed security guards to patrol the bridges as a way of curbing rock-throwing incidents.

The last fatal incident occurred on the N2 highway between Tongaat and Ballito when a seven-year-old boy died along with another occupant when a large rock was thrown onto the vehicle they were travelling in.

eThekwini Municipality security guard Khangelani Mabhulwini, who patrols Candella Bridge, said he is glad the municipality has taken action. “We recently started patrols on the Durban bridges. I was first deployed at Ridgeview Bridge then I was later moved to Candella Bridge. When I first started this job I noticed suspicious men looking over the bridge but they walked away when they saw me. This initiative will not only help motorists but it will also help pedestrians because a lot of people get mugged when walking along bridges,” said Mabhulwini.

eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Tozi Mthethwa said that in a concerted joint effort to curb incidents of rock throwing at bridges, the Durban Metro Police and other law-enforcement agencies, including the SAPS and Road Traffic Inspectorate, have beefed up patrols along key routes and bridges.

“This intervention was implemented following numerous reports that rocks and bricks were being thrown at vehicles from overhead bridges,” said Mthethwa.

eThekwini Municipality Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer said: “As part of a more sustainable long-term solution to the problem, the City is looking at constructing steel cages over bridges, erecting closed-circuit television cameras and improving lights on bridges. This will be subject to normal Council procedures and the availability of funding.”

“Police believe that the motive behind these incidents is to hijack vehicles. The modus operandi is that once a rock is thrown, the motorist is then forced to stop, after which they may be attacked. Other possible motives are being investigated by the relevant law-enforcement agencies.”

Peer said: “Two siblings were killed during the festive season on the N2 near Ballito when a rock was thrown at the car in which they were travelling. Numerous other incidents have been reported to authorities since then.”

The Metro Police have urged motorists to be observant when approaching bridges and not to stop under any circumstance, but rather to remain calm and drive to the nearest police station or service station from where they can call the police.

Any suspicious activity can be reported to the municipality’s emergency call centre at 031 361 0000.

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