Motorists are being warned to stay safe along Prince George Drive after a Grassy Park man and his wife were attacked in the early hours of the morning.
Sulaiman Emandien and his wife were travelling home to Grassy Park southbound along Prince George Drive on Friday September 14 after his wife picked him up from his night shift in Century City at about 12.30am.
At the pedestrian crossing after the Hyde Road turn-off Mr Emandien saw four men crossing the road. At the same time he saw another man kneeling down on the other side of the road.
His instincts kicked in and he sped up to try and dodge them.
“When I came past them they threw the stone at the car. My wife was sitting at the back and the stone just missed her head by a few centimetres,” said Mr Emandien.
The rock went through the back passenger window and damaged the back windscreen as well. Mr Emandien drove straight to Grassy Park police station.
“I refused to stop because I knew we would be in danger if we did. When I got to Grassy Park police they said Prince George Drive is not in their jurisdiction but said they would patrol to see if the suspects are still at the intersection,” he said.
Mr Emandien said it was a traumatising experience.
“My wife was in complete shock and I was also shaken but I tried to stay calm in the situation to make sure we got to safety. They obviously wanted me to stop but I refused to and I think that might have saved our lives because we don’t know what their intentions were,” he said.
It will cost about R2 500 to fix the car’s windows.
Mr Emandien said he now thinks twice about using Prince George Drive.
“I still use the road but I am a bit more cautious. When there are no other cars on the road I take a detour via the Main Road,” he said.
He advised other drivers to be vigilant and alert when driving along the stretch of road.
Grassy Park Community Police Forum (CPF) spokesperson, Philip Bam, urged people to take caution when driving.
“The driver made the right decision to drive to the police station. If you are caught in such a situation it’s best to keep going to a safe place if they’re capable of driving further. People should watch out at intersections as well because sometimes these criminals also hide behind bushes and pounce when people stand still at the intersections,” said Mr Bam.
Ward 66 councillor William Akim said it’s a crime of opportunity.
“It’s nearing festive season and I think criminals are taking every opportunity to pounce. Please do not stop as this could be fatal,” said Mr Akim.
When Mr Emandien posted about the incident on Facebook two other people said the same modus operandi was used before.
Amanda Jonkers said: “My sister and husband were also attacked there. Also a stone thrown at their window but they managed to get away.”
Ayoob Seggers said: “Same thing happened to me at the same place”.
Western Cape police spokesperson, Captain FC Van Wyk, confirmed a case of malicious damage to property was reported but said no other cases were reported.
“No arrests have been made as yet, but the investigation continues. There have been no other similar incidents reported. The Diep River policing precinct has not experienced the mentioned modus operandi for hijackings. Motorists should not stop for anyone along the road and drive to the nearest police station to report the incident,” he said.
Constable Yuri Ray from Diep River police said the station is aware of a few other similar incidents but can’t say for certain whether it was hijacking attempts.
“We can’t be too sure if it’s an attempt to try to stop motorists for hijacking or robbery because in all incidents the motorists continued driving.
“Motorists should be vigilant. Make sure there are other vehicles around them that they’re not alone on the road. If they are they should be aware of their surroundings,”said Constable Ray.
He said Diep River police do regular patrols along the M5 and M3 as there have been previous incidents.
The Automobile Association of SA has lambasted rock throwing attacks across the country, calling them barbaric and cowardly.
On the association’s website it states: “Throwing rocks off bridges onto vehicles below is extremely dangerous and can, as we have seen, cause death and severe injuries to the driver and passengers of the vehicles.”
The association also acknowledges that there is no “perfect solution” to dealing with the problem, but has released a list of tips that could be useful to motorists:
* If possible, avoid driving on roads known for rock throwing.
* As far as possible, drive during daylight hours to make seeing the environment around you easier.
* If you are the victim of a thrown rock, try and remain as calm as you possibly can while assessing the situation around you.
* Pull off to the side of the road, only once it is safe to do so, to check on damage.
* Contact police and emergency services immediately.