The City of Cape Town has vowed to slam the brakes on illegal street racing after a video surfaced of a crash near Century City on the N1 that left a 26-year-old suspected drag racer fighting for his life.
The crash happened towards the Sable Road off-ramp near Ratanga Junction in the early hours of Monday.
The injured driver has been identified as Taufiq Carr, of Mitchell’s Plain. It’s believed he may have been part of an underground drag-racing club that stages high-speed races on the N1 at weekends.
A video that has surfaced on social media appears to show two cars racing each other at high speed and next to other motorists on the national highway.
The driver of the BMW M3 tries to overtake a motorist but his car spins out of control, narrowly missing the car he appears to be racing, and hits a highway barrier.
ER24’s Russel Meiring said the 26-year-old man behind the wheel had been critically injured.
“Paramedics found that the man had sustained serious injuries to his legs and head, leaving him in a critical condition. The man was treated for his injuries and provided with several advanced life support interventions. Once treated, the man was transported to Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital for urgent care.”
Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said: “The incident is just the latest example of the devastation wrought by illegal street racers on our streets. What is equally concerning is the group of people gathered on the overpass who was filming the incident.”
Illegal racing was a regular problem on the city’s roads, he said.
But the traffic police, he said, could not prosecute someone on the basis of third-party evidence, such as the video footage being circulated.
“However, the South African Police Service is able to pursue a case and we hope that they will do so in this instance,” he said.
Taufiq’s farther, Achmat Carr, said in a WhatsApp message on Monday that his son was out of surgery and was in the ICU after losing both his legs. He said his son was due to undergo three more operations.
The family later asked that their privacy be respected.
Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital spokesperson Vaughanine Higgins would not confirm if Carr was a patient there, citing patient confidentiality.
Junaid Hamid, a former participant in the drag racing circuit and now editor in chief at Raceweb, an online platform for racing and car enthusiasts, said in a Facebook post that a group of drag racers held a regular event they called “Racewars”, which had its own Instagram account with videos of past races.
Mr Hamid said Racewars meetings were often held on the N1 on Sundays.
“I used to organise the races personally. But we would never race under these conditions. Private, invite only with no traffic. That doesn’t mean it was okay. I’ve grown up and have since realised my mistakes,” he said.
Mr Hamid urged the City of Cape Town’s Ghost Squad to put an end to the illegal racing.
When Tabletalk asked the City if it had reported the case, it replied in an email saying questions should be directed to SAPS.
Provincial SAPS spokesperson Captain Captain FC Van Wyk said Maitland SAPS detectives had no record of such a case being opened.