Johannesburg - Motorists who were attacked by protesting residents in Nancefield, Soweto, have told of their harrowing experience at the hands of a mob that pelted them with bricks.
On Wednesday night, a female motorist got lost after dropping off a friend she attends church with and found herself in the middle of a violent mob.
In another case, a brick from the crowd hit the driver on the shoulder and someone punched him through the vehicle’s broken window.
Patrick Dama said he also felt someone trying to drag him out of the vehicle.
Dama and his passengers escaped, but his minibus taxi, which was his only source of income, was torched.
The 30-year-old co-owned the minibus with his uncle. With the money he makes from the business, Dama pays for the room he rents and takes care of his 6-year-old son.
He was also planning to pay lobolo for the mother of his child later this year. The protesters shattered that dream, he said.
“I did not do anything to them. We are not Eskom, we are just people who were coming from work,” the heartbroken man said.
Dama was travelling with three clients when he saw rocks on the road, but he did not think much of it.
He then saw people gathered further along the road and reversed.
Dama was suddenly attacked by people who had been hiding in the bushes.
“I just heard a brick hitting the windscreen and another one shattering my windscreen,” said Dama.
He said the minibus could not get into gear when he reversed. It stalled, and he and his passengers ran for it.
They met up with police, who accompanied them back to the vehicle – but it was gone.
The following morning, Dama found that his vehicle had been torched.
He looked at its charred remains with a heavy heart.
“I made a living with it. It was not insured because I did not have enough money. I had spent a long time looking for a job, that is why I started this transport business with my uncle. This is a messed-up situation,” he said.
Nkhensani Mthombeni, who lives in Pretoria, got lost in the Nancefield area after dropping off a friend at the University of Johannesburg campus.
She was driving on a dark road that was barricaded with rocks when she heard people shouting.
Her car was pelted with rocks and bricks, but Mthombeni drove on, hitting debris on the road.
Finally, she hit the pavement, two tyres burst, the car veered out of control and stopped. She got out and started running.
Police officers and a passer-by helped her.
According to Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela, in another incident, two men were taken out of their smashed-up vehicles and stripped to their underwear by the protesters, who also took their phones.