Cape Town drag rac­ing fans at­tack po­lice

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

CAPE TOWN — Traf­fic of­fi­cials who tried to in­ter­vene at an illegal drag race in Scotts­dene on Sun­day had to duck as the crowd started pelt­ing of­fi­cers with rocks and bot­tles, and smash­ing the wind­screens of some of the pa­trol ve­hi­cles.

Of­fi­cers ar­rived at an open field on the cor­ner of Edam and Goede Hoop streets on Sun­day, where a crowd of ap­prox­i­mately 200 peo­ple had gath­ered, the City of Cape Town said in a state­ment.

“Just af­ter 16:00, of­fi­cers cor­doned off the area and started con­duct­ing ve­hi­cle in­spec­tions.

“When they tried to re­move a ve­hi­cle that had no valid reg­is­tra­tion or li­cence de­tails dis­played, the crowd started pelt­ing of­fi­cers with rocks and bot­tles and smash­ing the wind­screens of some of the pa­trol ve­hi­cles.

“Six ve­hi­cles were dam­aged in the process.”

Of­fi­cers ar­rested three sus­pects for public vi­o­lence and dam­age to prop­erty. Two protesters were taken to hos­pi­tal af­ter be­ing hit by rocks and one of­fi­cer was hit by a bot­tle thrown at staff mem­bers, the state­ment said.

“The city’s traf­fic ser­vice moved away from the scene and set up road­blocks in the vicin­ity that re­sulted in nine ar­rests for drunk driv­ing — one of the driv­ers was found to be five times over the le­gal limit.”

The in­ci­dent once again il­lus­trated a com­plete dis­re­gard for law and or­der and the grow­ing ten­dency of peo­ple to re­sort to vi­o­lence when things don’t go their way, said may­oral com­mit­tee mem­ber for safety and se­cu­rity, JP Smith.

“I have news for them though: it will not de­ter our staff from do­ing their jobs and en­forc­ing the law, which is very clear in re­spect of the in­fringe­ment that re­sulted in yesterday’s riot.

“We will con­tinue to im­pound ve­hi­cles that are con­tra­ven­ing the pro­vi­sions of the Na­tional Road Traf­fic Act.

Smith said the of­fi­cers would re­turn week af­ter week un­til the is­sue was re­solved.

City traf­fic of­fi­cers also fo­cused on illegal street rac­ing in Eerste River, Kuils River, Ravens­mead and Bel­lville South, as well as Ottery and Athlone.

The oper­a­tions yielded 14 ar­rests for drunk driv­ing and three ar­rests for reck­less and neg­li­gent driv­ing.

“One of the driv­ers was also ar­rested on a sec­ond charge of drug pos­ses­sion af­ter of­fi­cers found three pack­ets of tik in his pos­ses­sion.

“In ad­di­tion, of­fi­cers is­sued nearly 1 000 fines for var­i­ous trans­gres­sions in­clud­ing speed­ing, in­con­sid­er­ate driv­ing, un­li­censed driv­ers and fail­ure to dis­play num­ber plates.

“It is ridicu­lous that we have to de­vote such sig­nif­i­cant re­sources on a weekly ba­sis to baby-sit res­i­dents who de­lib­er­ately set out to break the law — es­pe­cially when al­ter­na­tive op­tions are avail­able, like the Street2Strip drag-rac­ing event at Kil­lar­ney,” Smith said.

“These mo­torists are a dan­ger to them­selves as well as other road users, but good sense ap­pears to be in short sup­ply.

“I don’t know how many more times we have to high­light the dan­gers of this ac­tiv­ity to drive home the mes­sage that this type of be­hav­iour is sim­ply not ac­cept­able.

“We all have to work to­gether in or­der to cre­ate a truly safe city.”

• In Pi­eter­mar­itzburg an illegal drag race through cen­tral Pi­eter­mar­itzburg on Sun­day night ended in se­vere in­juries to seven by­standers when one of the rac­ing ve­hi­cles veered off the road.

A wit­ness to the crash, who would not be named, said af­ter the race had fin­ished, a driver be­gan do­ing “donuts” along Vic­to­ria Road.

It ap­peared the car veered onto the shoul­der when the hand­brake was pulled up.

ER24 para­medic Paul Knoe­sen said the car crashed into two parked ve­hi­cles and hit seven by­standers, of whom four, in­clud­ing a nine-year-old boy, were crit­i­cally in­jured. It is be­lieved the driver and pas­sen­ger in the ve­hi­cle that crashed into the crowd were un­harmed in the ac­ci­dent.

A wit­ness, An­drew McFad­den, said the scene looked like a drag race that had gone wrong. “Vic­to­ria Road is known for drag races,” he said.

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