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It was a dramatic chase through the streets of the Johannesburg CBD, but it wasn't a member of the police force on the tail of a reckless taxi driver - it was just a regular Jo'burg citizen on his way to work.
The motorist, 36-year-old Robbie Partner, called in to The John Robbie Show on Talk Radio 702 this morning to describe his ordeal.
“I don't know what came over me, but I - I don't know, I just thought I'm going to do what I can to see if we can try to catch this guy,” he said.
“I phoned 702 because I knew they had the contacts and would have to take some good action. I hoped somebody in the community would hear it so if I couldn't stay with the guy somebody else would.”
The chase began as Partner drove along the M2 West in the left lane.
A taxi driver came hurtling down the emergency lane, then spotted a metro police officer standing next to his car and attempted to get back into the proper lane.
He tried to push in front of Partner, but the father to two young boys, aged 5 and 7, had no space to move over.
The taxi was forced to continue on towards the metro officer.
“The taxi wasn't slowing down, the metro (officer) had to jump out of the way,” said Partner.
The taxi almost hit the officer, and then headed off down the Maritzburg Kaserne off-ramp.
Partner was terrified but his anger drove him to chase the taxi down into the centre of Jo'burg.
Following the taxi down Anderson Street, the medical underwriter at an insurance company in Parktown, called 702 after thinking of the numerous LeadSA campaigns that called upon citizens to help make a difference.
The taxi sped down towards Von Wielligh Street and eventually up towards Bree, with Partner in tow all the way.
Throughout the chase he remained connected with the metro police on a call patched through to them by 702 at about 7am.
But the call dropped and metro police spokesperson Edna Mamonyane said police then struggled to get hold of Partner again.
At that point the taxi driver spotted Partner tailing him and attempted to elude him by driving into a crowded taxi rank.
Not wanting to endanger himself, Partner waited outside and managed to get hold of the metro police again, telling them that the suspect was hiding out at the rank.
Presumably thinking he was safe after a while, the taxi driver ventured out of the rank, only to be confronted by two CCTV Reaction Unit cars waiting for him on the corner of Nugget and Fox streets.
Partner, who was nearby, got out of his car and witnessed the arrest.
“I chose to stay in the background, I didn't want to get too close. I saw there was something going on but I don't know what was being said as I kept my distance - plus my phone kept going off, talking to 702 and the newspaper,” he said.
“I was pretty scared, but I'm OK now.”
The suspect was taken to Johannesburg Central police station where Partner made a full statement.
It was evident that the incident had left Partner traumatised.
As he related his story to a metro officer, his hands shook and he battled to overcome his nerves while his wife repeatedly phoned to check that he was OK.
He said he had been terrified of being trapped in the taxi rank.
“I was praying that he was not aware I was following him,” said Partner afterwards - pleased that his efforts had resulted in the arrest, despite the terror he had felt.
“My little difference,” he smiled.
JMPD director David Tembe was grateful to Partner for his actions that led to the capture of a potential police killer.
“On behalf of the JMPD, we'd like to thank Robbie from the bottom of our hearts,” he said.
Partner said his wife had yelled at him for putting his life in danger and had been extremely relieved when it was all over. He also received a stern warning from a metro official.
“An officer said I must be careful because these guys carry guns and are very dangerous,” he said.
Seven years ago Partner stopped to help passengers trapped after a taxi crash.
“I remember the lady I rescued. Her elbows were mangled. There were 16 passengers lying and bleeding in the car.
“They are dependent on the taxis to get them to work. The driver had been driving recklessly,” Partner said.
A few months later the woman he rescued phoned him to say she'd had corrective surgery and could use her arms.
“She needed her arms to survive because she worked in a clothing factory,” Partner said.
He says he has nothing against taxi drivers.
“I just hate their behaviour.” -The Star
Well done friend - you showed real guts to follow through on this. It was risky but whats done is now done. I just wish there was Metro visibility in Durban in the mornings - they are absolutely nowhere to be seen. it's a free for all every day commuting from Toti 35km into Durban central. Stop hiding away and start doing what it is you are payed to do please Dbn Metro. Wherever you are, we are not seeing you out where the action is. Oh ps - setting up a roadblock along the Esplanade during morning rush hour doesnt count either as you have often done lately.
Well done Robbie. This is the type of initiative South Africans should take in Leading SA. Robbie did the right thing by keeping his distance but he should perhaps have his vehicle registration changed. These taxi guys have contacts everywhere and I would be very surprised if they dont have a contact in some department that has access to all vehicle registrations to get your residential info. Precaution is better than reaction. Well done Robbie. I heard your call on 702 and was very impressed with your actions.
I followed a taxi once for not stopping at a red traffic light and nearly knocking over pedestrians crossing the road. When I eventually caught up and pulled along side the taxi, the driver pointed a gun at me. I then realised that why end up as another murder statistic and gave up the chase. I think Robbie was extremely lucky in many respects.
Robbie, I want to congratulate you, but your wife has a point. This could have turned out so differently if you been killedinjured. I'd like to see a follow-up to this story. What happened to the driver? My guess? He's out on bail (maybe), driving like he always does and will never see the inside of a courtroom. Even if he's convicted he'll get a small "reckless" driving fine (that he'll never pay) and he'll be back on the streets.
Great work Robbie Patner. I wish that the paper kept your picture out of the paper. They could have mentioned your name, now your safety could be jeopardised, may God be wiith you and more people need to stand up.
Sell your car my friend.......... You never know who might have seen you
Bravo!! Bravo !! More of us must stand up to this kind of behaviour of the taxi drivers
Well done!! A good news story. I just hope the justice system works and the taxi driver gets what he deserves
GIVE THAT MAN A BELLS!!
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