Cape Town - It was a normal journey to work, but it ended with a Somerset West man rupturing a tyre on bricks on the N2, being ambushed and stabbed by robbers – and being ignored by police and others he tried to wave them down for help before dawn on Wednesday.
Electrical engineer Frans Welgemoed, 29, said that after hitting bricks under a bridge near Macassar, he kept driving until sparks flew from the rim of the front wheel. The tyre had stripped off.
“I know what happens to people who stop along the N2,” Welgemoed said after the ordeal in which he was attacked by two men, stabbed in the shoulder and robbed.
The robbery was the latest in a series of similar ambushes on the N2.
Welgemoed was on his way to work in Montague Gardens about 6am when he passed under the bridge.
“It was too late to swerve to miss the bricks - I would have gone into the side of the bridge.”
He continued driving because stopping could have meant the “end of my life”.
“It was dark. When I could not drive any further, I stopped to quickly try to change the wheel.”
As he was moving towards the boot of his car, he saw a man approaching him. He turned around, and a second man was standing in the front of the car, sandwiching him in.
“I tried to put up a fight, but the man behind me grabbed me and stabbed me in the right shoulder. At that stage, my adrenalin was pumping and I didn’t know I had been stabbed.”
Welgemoed slipped and fell on to the grass island. As he lay there, the two men ransacked his car, taking his briefcase, house keys and other items, before running off towards Macassar.
The incident was over in minutes.
“I stood up and ran from my car. As I was running, I felt a burning sensation coming from my shoulder. I touched it and felt blood. It was then that I realised I was stabbed.”
Welgemoed tried to stop passing motorists, but they all ignored him. Desperate, he ran into the centre of the road to try to stop a police van. It swerved around him, he said.
“I can understand that people have reservations about stopping to help strangers, but not when those people are the police.
“I called 10111. I said I needed help, that I had been stabbed and that I was standing along the N2.
“The operator told me they could do nothing to help.”
Welgemoed called his wife, Marelize, who arrived about 20 minutes later and took him to the Somerset West Medi-Clinic. Doctors at the clinic confirmed treating Welgemoed.
Police spokesman FC Van Wyk said Welgemoed had filed a robbery complaint with the Somerset West police. It had been referred to the Macassar police for investigation.
“I would advise him to go to the police station and file a charge,” Van Wyk said about the response Welgemoed received when he called 10111.
On July 10, SAA cabin crew member Wesley Ford hit a rock, severely damaging his car.
Three men accosted him, leaving him with bruises.
This was the second incident in three days.
Police patrols were stepped up and on August 1 police arrested six men in connection with the attacks.
Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said motorists should not stop to pick up rubble left in the road.
“It’s just those five to 10 seconds the perpetrators need. Motorists need to leave that responsibility to police.”