A Bloemfontein taxi driver has appeared in court after deliberately and repeatedly attacking a pedestrian who stepped in his way, while witnesses stood by and did nothing.
He was arrested on Saturday and appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Monday for assault – but he is on the streets again, scot free.
Police spokesman Warrant Officer Zweli Mohobeleli said the case was provisionally withdrawn because the prosecution could not link the accused to the case.
“There is a possibility the case will be reopened,” he said.
The 77-second CCTV footage of the clip, titled “Brutal Road Rage Caught on CCTV in South Africa” on YouTube, captures the nearest lane of Andries Bekker Street, the adjacent pavement, and the entrance to a Brent Oil filling station. It starts at 5.22pm: rush hour.
Two men stand nearby, one in the petrol station uniform, the other wearing a Kaizer Chiefs T-shirt. A pedestrian appears in the far right of the screen, strolling across the street, his head down, his hands in his pockets.
Almost simultaneously, a taxi enters the frame and bumps into the pedestrian.
The man stumbles, but keeps moving onto the pavement, limping slightly. He doesn’t look back.
But the taxi is following him. It mounts the pavement and slams into him from behind.
He goes down. His left foot disappears under a tyre. The two witnesses do not move.
The man lies there, seemingly shocked as the taxi reverses back onto the road. It crawls by slowly for 20 seconds, its hazards blinking.
The pedestrian rises to his feet, slowly, gingerly. His back is turned to the taxi. He does not see it stop. He does not see the taxi driver rounding the front of the vehicle, legs striding, arms swinging. He’s bearing down on him. With his face still to the ground, the victim doesn’t see the taxi driver lifting a leg to kick him in the face.
A woman climbs from the taxi. Another employee comes running forward. They point to the man lying on his back. The taxi driver seems to shout at them while ushering the woman back into the vehicle and closing the door behind her.
He drives off, leaving the witnesses still standing there.
It ends at 5.23pm. 77 seconds.
What the viewers don’t see is what happened after the 77 seconds were up.
According to owner Stanley Reizis, the station manager reported the incident immediately.
Police officers and an ambulance arrived shortly afterwards.
“The pedestrian was still conscious when he was taken to hospital, and I understand he has been discharged,” Reizis said.
He also came to the defence of his employee, seen on the video watching the incident without intervening at any point.
“He was so shocked, he didn’t know what was happening.
“What if somebody had confronted the taxi driver?
“Nobody knows what he might have done. What if he had pulled a gun out?”
Traffic officials said they were “shocked and horrified” by the incident, and discouraged road users from taking the law into their own hands.
“This is absolutely unacceptable behaviour,” said the Road Traffic Management Corporation’s head of law enforcement co-ordination, Ashref Ismail.
“But all road users should be aware that they must not intervene when they come across road rage. Instead, get all the details, such as vehicle registration, and report it to the police.”
YouTube viewers’ comments were divided.
“im TOTALLY with the driver,” wrote user, applekoos. “nothing makes me angrier than wen some CLOWN walks slowly and deliberately across the street with that defiant F*** you look on their face.”
Sandyhuman wrote: “This is disgusting! How can people just stand there and do nothing!!!”
“The others who just stood there derserve no better than the real criminal,” agreed Pantheman90. - The Star