JMPD cop saves hijacked Bolt driver bundled in car boot
PRETORIA - A timely intervention by an off-duty Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) officer saved a driver for e-hailing cab service Bolt who had been hijacked and bundled into the boot of his car, while it was being stripped.
At around midnight on Friday, the JMPD received information about men who were stripping a white Bolt Nissan Almera with the victim in the boot of the vehicle, not far from his home in Mid-Ennerdale south of Johannesburg, JMPD spokesperson Xolani Fihla said .
“Upon investigation, the officer spotted the suspicious vehicle with two suspects as per the lookout. The officer immediately called for backup and the suspects noticed him from a distance,” said Fihla.
The suspects then abandoned the vehicle and started walking towards a nearby tavern. The officer called out to the suspects, who fired shots at him. He returned fire and the suspects fled through an open field with him in pursuit.
“The suspects managed to flee as they were jumping from house to house. When backup arrived, officers searched the area with no success. It was discovered that the vehicle was positively hijacked and the victim was freed from the boot of his vehicle,” Fihla said.
The Bolt driver was taken to the Ennerdale police station to open a case of hijacking and kidnapping.
“The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department management commends the officer for his courage. This has shown sheer determination, considering that he was off duty,” said Fihla.
In an effort to quell turf wars between metered taxi operators and e-hailing cab drivers including Uber and Bolt which have left several people dead over the years and numerous cars damaged, Gauteng Member of the Executive Council for Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure Jacob Mamabolo met with representatives of metered taxi operators in March.
E-hailing cab drivers told the African News Agency in the same month that lucrative public transport hubs like the Bosman station in the South African capital Pretoria’s central business district had been declared a no-go area for them and that they faced frequent violence and hijackings.
“What is worse is that now, even a member of the public driving his/her Toyota Corolla, Toyota Etios or Nissan Almera can be pelted with stones and sjamboked at Bosman because these cars are believed to be Taxify [now called Bolt] or Uber,” one said.
“There is a police station at Bosman station but the police officers there are busy with something else.”
– African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa