Cape Town - A traffic officer had to have emergency surgery on Wednesday after being shot five times by an unknown assailant.

The officer, who has not yet been named, was shot in the leg, said Richard Bosman, the City of Cape Town’s executive director of Safety and Security.

The officer and his wife had walked out of their Mitchell’s Plain house and got into their car to go to work just before 5am on Wednesday morning.

As they reversed out of the driveway, a man walked up to the car and began talking to the officer, Bosman said.

“We are not sure what happened, but an altercation developed and the man fired some shots.

“The traffic officer returned fire and the man fled,” said Bosman.

The traffic officer was shot five times in one leg.

He was taken to Vincent Pallotti Hospital where he had surgery on Wednesday morning.

Bosman said the city preferred not to name the officer until after the surgery.

“We need his permission for that, I am sure you understand,” he said.

“We do not know if the officer hit the other man during the shooting.

“We are very thankful that the officer’s weapon was not taken. That was a good thing.”

Bosman said some of the officer’s colleagues were looking after his children at home, while his wife stayed with him at hospital.

“We are not sure what sparked the attack,” Bosman said.

“The police are investigating, but there has been no sign yet of the attacker.”

Cape Argus