'This is just brutal hatred' - employer after truck driver petrol bombed

2019-06-03 12:19
Bernard Groenewald (Facebook)

Bernard Groenewald (Facebook)

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A truck driver, who was petrol bombed in the Western Cape is in ICU, his employer said on Monday.

Bernard Groenewald, 50, has serious burn wounds after his truck was targeted on the N1, near Touws River, in the early hours of Sunday.

He and his brother-in-law had pulled over on the side of the highway to rest.

While sleeping, a petrol bomb was thrown through one of the windows, ER24 spokesperson Werner Vermaak said.

PICS: Motorists cautioned after at least 4 trucks reportedly torched on N3 in KZN

Groenewald managed to jump out of the truck but a group of men chased him and threw another petrol bomb directly at him.

His employer, Yolanda Huddlestone of Huddlestone Logistics, said on Monday: "He (Groenewald) is still in ICU and is [in a] very serious [condition]. The recovery process is going to be very long," she told News24.

She said that his wife Ciska, who she drove to the hospital in Worcester, was devastated.

"These guys were trying to get a peaceful night's rest and they were attacked... Nothing was stolen. It was a matter of trying to kill someone. This is just brutal hatred."

No safe spots

While the company could claim back from insurance for the destroyed truck, they still had to pay excesses.

Insurance companies require drivers to get off the roads between 23:00 and 04:00 because it is too dangerous to be on the roads, she said.

Huddlestone questioned what authorities were doing to assist truck companies because there were no safe spots to stop over, including on the N1 between Beaufort West and Cape Town.

"Our drivers can't rest now because of attacks on their lives. We are calling on government to do something because truck drivers are sitting ducks. This is our livelihood and also a service for the country."

Western Cape police confirmed that cases of attempted murder and malicious damage to property were opened for investigation. No arrests have been made.

KZN trucks reportedly burnt

The incident is the latest in a spate of attacks on trucks across the country.

In May, the Road Freight Association revealed that 1 300 trucks had been damaged or destroyed over the past year.

In De Doorns, truck drivers have endured a string of stonings near the N1 over the past few weeks.

Time Link Cargo driver Christopher Kgomo, 46, died on Sunday, May 12, when a boulder was thrown through his windshield.

Five people were arrested for looting the vehicle and a murder case was opened.

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