Cape Town drag racing fans attack police
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.