Stone throwers target N1 drivers

Karla Etzebeth suffered injuries to her face after four men threw stones at her car. Picture: Facebook

There are fears that stone-throwing attacks, commonly seen on the N2, are now moving to the N1 after two recent attacks on the highway, one fatal.

A 26-year-old woman reported being attacked by four stone-throwing men on the N1 outbound near the M5 Koeberg Road turn-off, in the early hours of Saturday.

Karla Etzebeth suffered injuries to the side of her face. Pictures of her damaged car were shared more than 5 000 times on Facebook.

She told the Cape Argus she had been coming from work at the Waterfront, at 3am, and had passed the M5 off-ramp, heading towards Century City, when she had noticed a big stone on the road.

“I told myself this is rather odd, and I drove around it. Then I noticed more stones in the road. I slowed down, and, in seconds, four males came out from nowhere and threw stones at my car.”

Ms Etzebeth said one of the stones had smashed her side window and hit her in the face.

“It happened so fast, and I still don’t know how I, in that panic-stricken situation, reversed the car and managed to speed away from them. I called my fiancé, who came and drove my car to the Bellville police station,” she said.

Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith, said he had sourced CCTV footage in and around Century City after hearing Ms Etzebeth’s account.

“However, the footage showed no incident committed during the time the incident was alleged to have taken place. I also, when I later learned that the incident happened near the M5 Koeberg turn-off, requested CCTV footage from that vicinity. Again, the footage showed no stone-throwing incident,” he said.

Just a week earlier, school teacher Michele Pietersen died when she was hit in the face by a brick hurled at the car she was travelling in with her husband, Anton, on the N1 near Paarl.

Community Safety MEC, Albert Fritz, has condemned the reported stone-throwing attacks on the N1.

He said he would be meeting with Transport and Public Works MEC, Bonginkosi Madikizela, to find ways to protect the N1 from stone-throwing attacks.

“While stone-throwing – a criminal tactic to rob, carjack and harm motorists – is typically reported on the N2, there has been a reported increase along the N1. Last Thursday, Michele Pietersen, a teacher at New Orleans Secondary School, was killed along the N1 near Paarl when a brick was thrown at her car by a group of men,” said Mr Fritz.

“These attacks are to be condemned in the strongest terms. It is essential that our national highways be safeguarded as they are the key arterioles into the City of Cape Town, transporting citizens to work and retail stock to and from our businesses. No one should feel unsafe when driving.”

He urged anyone with information to come forward.

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