Crime nightmare on Cape N2 highway

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A traffic officer says criminals are targeting motorists on the N2 – and despite daily crime-fighting operations, officers are struggling to prevent incidents.

“We’re on the lookout on a daily basis, but we don’t know where it will happen next. It becomes a nightmare,” Pat Curran, the traffic officer responsible for the N2 from Cape Town to Plettenberg Bay, said.

He confirmed that in some cases criminals were obstructing the road to get drivers to stop so they could rob them.

ROCKS STREWN ACROSS ROAD

In a recent incident, a motorist from Somerset West said he was forced to stop his car on the N2 because of rocks strewn across the road. He was then robbed while trying to get hold of police.

Yesterday Curran said criminals targeted different routes. “But it seems they prefer the N2 … It’s really dangerous,” he said.

Curran said incidents usually happened “within the reach of informal settlements”.

He said criminals were known to purposefully obstruct the road to stop cars, or targeted motorists during service delivery protests.

Yesterday Trevor Rees, of Somerset West, who was robbed on the N2 on Sunday, said he and his wife were travelling home when he was forced to stop their car.

“Someone had littered both lanes with several large rocks and pieces of concrete. I swerved to avoid the largest piece but hit a smaller piece that caused the front right tyre to burst,” he said. Rees stopped after about 100m next to the Macassar on-ramp.

“I was eventually put through to a police helpline. I was then approached by two youths armed with screwdrivers who demanded my phone. I told them I was talking to the police when one of them attacked me, at which time I gave them the phone.”

It appeared as if the two youths had run away, but Rees said they then returned and repeatedly tried to smash his car’s passenger window with a rock. His wife was still locked in the car. When another car approached the youths fled.

POLICE PRESENCE LACKING

Police later arrived. “The police told me that a similar incident happened on the N2 the previous weekend where someone was robbed of a few thousand rand,” Rees said. “It is also not only the R300 that has become a dangerous road, but one of the main arteries of Cape Town. Police clearly do not patrol these roads in sufficient numbers. I am enraged that such a state of affairs has been allowed to become the norm.”

Yesterday police spokesman Frederick van Wyk confirmed a robbery case was being probed. “Similar incidents happened in the past,” he said. Van Wyk said the province’s flying squad, as well as Macassar police, patrolled the highway.

Brett Herron, city mayco member for transport, roads and stormwater, said the N2 was covered by the Cape Town Freeway Management System, a joint project between the city, provincial government and the SA National Roads Agency Limited. CCTV cameras monitored vehicles and general activities on freeways.

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In an incident on the R300 in December, Claudia Dalias swerved to avoid a pedestrian, lost control of her car and suffered severe injuries. Looters stole her belongings.

She believes the crash was caused intentionally. Paramedics said they knew accidents were sometimes caused intentionally so criminals could rob people. -Cape Argus


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