Durban - Four months after securing a pedestrian bridge over the N2 freeway with a steel mesh cage, rock throwers are now targeting motorists from a new spot about 2km away.
On Monday night, Mark Raubenheimer, 60, escaped with his life after a chunk of concrete was thrown at his car from a bridge on a notorious stretch of the N2 just outside uMhlanga.
He said police at the Verulam SAPS had told him it was the third rock-throwing incident that night.
Police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker, could not confirm the other incidents.
The Mount Moreland resident said he was travelling home from a conference at Sibaya Casino in his BMW at about 9.40pm on Monday when he heard a loud bang that sounded like gunfire.
The incident occurred a few hundred metres north of the Sibaya interchange. The Sugar Cane Road bridge is used primarily as a service road for farm vehicles.
In February, authorities secured the Blackburn pedestrian bridge on the same stretch of road - between Gateway and Sibaya - with a steel mesh cage, following a spate of rock-throwing incidents.
The bridges are located about 2km away from each other.
Debris on the N2 and a pile of concrete chunks were still stacked on the bridge on Tuesday.
Raubenheimer said he thought someone had shot at his vehicle. He said he pulled over to the side of the freeway and realised a piece of concrete had been thrown at the car, causing “massive damage” to the sunroof.
“The intention was obviously to get the thing to go through the windscreen so you either lose control of the vehicle or pull over on the side of the road, which was what I did. I then realised it could be dangerous and got back in.”
Raubenheimer said it seemed like the rock-throwers had moved from the Blackburn Bridge to the Sugar Cane Road Bridge.
He said that when he reported the incident at the Verulam police station, two policemen in a van told him it was the third rock-throwing incident that night.
Raubenheimer said he was disappointed with the police at the station, who he claimed were more interested in watching World Cup soccer on TV than in handling his matter and going out to the bridge.
“The cops were a bit slack to respond.
“There was just no motivation to react,” he said.
He said police had become “totally desensitised” to crime.
Colonel Naicker confirmed that the incident had been reported at the Verulam station, but said Raubenheimer had reported that “an object fell off the bridge and damaged his vehicle sunroof”.
“He was not certain if it was a person who had thrown an object at his car or something had fallen on his vehicle,” Naicker said.
“A patrol van was dispatched to the scene to investigate if it was possible that anyone might have thrown the object. No one was found in the area,” Naicker said.
“If the complainant is prepared to make a statement under oath to confirm his allegations we will gladly investigate as we have two different versions of what transpired,” Naicker said.
Raubenheimer said he would provide the police with a sworn statement.
“I am a builder and I know that the bridge is shaped and constructed so that it is impossible for anything to roll or fall from the bridge. Bridge engineering is structurally designed to avoid such issues,” he said.
“It was a deliberate act. There was no doubt about it.”
Raubenheimer said he had spoken to a manager at landowner Tongaat Hulett who agreed to get private security officers patrol the bridge.
“I’ve also reported it to Sibaya security because people, hundreds of people, use the road to go north and I have asked them to put a security guard on the bridge.”
Provincial Department of Transport spokesman, Kwanele Ncalane, could not be reached for comment today.
In March, two motorists and a passenger had a lucky escape after a rock-throwing incident from the Higginson Highway Bridge.
Rothman Thusi, 24, was travelling on the N2 from Isipingo towards Avoca, when a rock struck his car - a VW Polo – hitting the bumper and headlight.
The same rock then struck the bonnet, windscreen and roof of the vehicle Elizabeth Archibald, 54, and her husband, George, 56, were travelling in. All three were in shock but escaped unhurt.