Cape Town -
Record-breaking activist Andre van Zijl does not shy away from a challenge and says when two men with knives tried to rob him of his bicycle near the city centre he tasered them.
Van Zijl, 63, originally from Bellville and now living in Knysna, is the third cyclist around the city to be reportedly targeted by criminals in less than a week.
“I’m not a victim. It’s time we retaliated,” he said on Tuesday.
Van Zijl had been cycling from a restaurant in the V&A Waterfront to a city centre hotel at 10pm on Monday when he said two men with knives accosted him near a traffic circle.
“They said: ‘Give me your bike.’ I said: ‘No, you can have my cellphone’.” Van Zijl then pulled out an electroshock weapon that looks like a cellphone and “zapped” both men by holding it to their necks. He left them “in agony” and cycled off “merrily”.
On Thursday, a cyclist from Fresnaye was robbed of his bicycle by two men, one of whom had a gun, on Kloofnek Road. On Saturday Benjamin Bungartz, of Hout Bay, was robbed of his bicycle at gun and knifepoint by three men on the Karbonkelberg.
On Tuesday, Van Zijl said he felt it was time cyclists stood up to criminals. He said Monday night’s incident brought to seven the number of would-be criminals he had tasered.
Van Zijl said he bought the weapon about three months ago when, in a challenge to raise funds and awareness for children with HIV/Aids, he spent more than 300 hours in a jacuzzi at Fourways Mall in Joburg. Intoxicated people tried to get into the jacuzzi and this had prompted him to get the weapon.
Van Zijl has broken several records to raise awareness and funds for HIV.
Van Zyl, who went to Joburg on Tuesday, said while there he would attempt to talk non-stop on a phone for 50 hours.