Onus on communities to spark change
VIOLENCE monitor and analyst Mary de Haas said rock throwing for purposes of looting or as a game has been going on for years and should have already been dealt with.
Previously, areas near Chesterville, south of Durban, had become notorious for such incidents.
“This pattern rears itself every now and again as criminality is contagious.
But this is easily preventable because there are some people who know why this is happening and who is doing it,” she said.
De Haas called for caging bridges that have been identified as vulnerable, and believed perpetrators could be from nearby informal settlements.
But criminology expert and research professor and head of the urban design centres at the Durban University of Technology, Professor Monique Marks, said caging bridges would create more problems and would defer from the New Urban Agenda, which is about making the city more accessible to people.
“Instead of diverting crime elsewhere with enclosed bridges, we need to understand the rationale behind this violence. There are many frustrated youth who feel they have no options in life, and turn to criminal behaviour,” said Marks.
While she sympathised with victims, she pointed to “relative deprivation” and said the onus is on the community as a whole to spark change.
“A person in an informal settlement is living in a shack and watching people go by in fancy cars every day and feel they have been deprived of something that others have. They respond with frustration. We need to understand the injustice that has led to these type of situations,” Marks said.
Rivaaj Ramdas, member of the Tactical Shooting Team and founder of the Safety Security Team, a WhatsApp group of good Samaritans and crime fighters, said motorists need to anticipate becoming targets when they travel near bridges close to informal settlements.
“Slow down, and if it’s safe, drive with bright lights to spot suspicious movement.
“If you are attacked and you car hasn’t been immobilised, drive to a place of safety. If you are immobilised, lock your doors and contact authorities immediately.
“Dial 112 from your cellphone, which will put you through to the flying squad, metro police or RTI, depending on your situation. This number will work even if you have no airtime.
“Learn how to send WhatsApp location pins to your contacts so they know where you are, and keep in constant contact with them.
“Comply with robbers, don’t try to be a hero.”
A rock was thrown at 77-year-old Dorian Kahlberg’s vehicle as she travelled under a bridge near Tollgate Bridge in Berea, Durban.
A truck driver came under attack by a group of people throwing rocks near Lanseria Airport.