Traffic cop commended after rescuing girl from alleged rapist

2016-07-26 22:39
Traffic officer Girschen Grobbelaar. (Tammy Petersen)

Traffic officer Girschen Grobbelaar. (Tammy Petersen)

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Cape Town - Traffic officer Girschen Grobbelaar’s standard traffic officer uniform doubled as a superhero cape when he rescued a teenager from possible repeated rape and death after stopping a taxi driver for driving without headlights.

The 33-year-old rescued a teenager from her alleged rapist in April this year. He was among dozens of safety and security officers the City of Cape Town commended on Tuesday for going above and beyond the call of duty to keep the city safe.

Grobbelaar told News24 when he pulled over the minibus at 03:00 on April 10, he didn’t expect to find a barely conscious 14-year-old girl, bloody and bruised on the vehicle’s floor.

“My shift started at midnight, and three hours in I spotted a taxi driving on Parklands Main Road with its lights off. I pulled him over and the first thing I noticed was despite the cold, the driver had no shirt on,” he recalled.

The man was known to him, Grobbelaar said. He had pulled the man over a number of times for outstanding warrants.

“When I approached him, I noticed he was sweating profusely despite the cold. I asked him if he had been drinking and he admitted that he had. I could smell the alcohol on his breath,” the officer, from Kuils River, said.

Grobbelaar took his keys and started to inspect the vehicle. When he opened the sliding door, he found the girl in the back.

“She was barely conscious and naked. Her pants had been pulled down to her knees and she had a top draped over her breasts. Her face was bruised and bleeding. I asked him what had happened and he started spinning all sorts of stories,” Grobbelaar said.

“I asked him where he was going and he claimed to be on his way to Dunoon. But he was driving in the opposite direction, towards the beach. I suspect he wanted to dump her.”

'Just doing my job'

He phoned the police, despite the taxi driver insisting he had done nothing wrong.

The girl told authorities the driver had raped her, and that he was on his way to find a spot to repeat his attack.

Grobbelaar modestly insisted he did what any other law enforcement officer would have done.

“I don’t believe in just doing your job. I am proud to wear this uniform and execute my duties. You don’t turn your back simply because something is not in your job specifications.”

He joined traffic services seven years ago after completing his sports science degree at UWC and being unable to find a job.

“I’m glad I did it. I enjoy what I do. And I love working with people, even if they don’t usually like to see me walk up to their window,” Grobbelaar joked.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, who oversaw the ceremony on Tuesday, said occasions such as the city’s mid-year commendations ceremony were intended to thank staff for whom the uniform was “more than just a job”.

“This event is also a useful reminder of all the hard work and often crazy circumstances and situations that characterise a day’s work,” he said.

“I am proud of what he did. He was alert and his actions resulted in the arrest of an attacker. He potentially saved other girls from a similar fate,” Smith said.


Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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