Patrols after sjambok attack on cyclists
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Cape Town - Police in Cape Town say they are increasing patrols around so-called hot spots to prevent further incidents after four cyclists came under attack by sjambok-wielding suspects on a popular cycle route in Simon’s Town at the weekend.
Two of the cyclists were wounded.
It was not the first case reported to police, and detectives are confident that they have successfully apprehended the two men accused of sjambokking several cyclists and a pedestrian on the 10km stretch of road between Main Road, Kalk Bay and Blackhill in Simon’s Town.
Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said on Tuesday: “(We will continue) normal patrols and visible policing around the main road and surrounding areas.
“The cyclists should just be aware of their surroundings and be vigilant while cycling.
“They should report any incidents that they consider to be unethical or in conflict with the law.”
Eight cases of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm have been reported to the Simon’s Town and Fish Hoek police stations in recent weeks after two men, who are members of the SA Navy, allegedly attacked cyclists and a pedestrian with a sjambok.
Van Wyk said the suspects were “about 26 years” old.
The SA Navy confirmed that the suspects – currently in police custody – were employees of the navy.
On Tuesday, the police said the incidents were isolated and allegedly perpetrated by two individuals for reasons unknown to the police.
The suspects are alleged to have followed the cyclists in a silver VW Polo on Saturday at around 7.30am before attacking them with a sjambok.
Eyewitnesses said the men were dangling out of the car’s window while allegedly hitting the cyclists.
The two cyclists who were injured were riding in a group of four.
A 40-year-old sales representative – who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals – was whipped on the head while cycling on Blackhill.
The sjambok hit his helmet and cut him on the chin.
Stellenbosch University professor, William Ferris, 52, said he was cycling on the same hill when he was struck on his back, leaving him with a deep gash.
The suspects will appear in the Simon’s Town Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Steve Hayward from the Pedal Power Association said cyclists had been shot with pellet guns and smacked with bottles in similar incidents in recent years along Bottelary Road in Stellenbosch, and Suikerbos Road in Belhar: “This could be very dangerous for a cyclist who could lose control of their bicycle and break bones – potentially necks – if they are going at high speed. Is smacking cyclists with coke bottles (or sjamboks) really worth it if it could mean a murder charge?”
Hayward urged cyclists and pedestrians who have fallen victim to similar incidents to report it to police.
Cycling South Africa’s Mike Bradley condemned the incidents, saying it was a violation of the cyclists’ rights.
“We will put out a general reminder to pedestrians and cyclists to be aware of their surroundings,” he said.